D.C. Breaks Ground On $2.6 Billion Sewage Tunnel | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

D.C. Breaks Ground On $2.6 Billion Sewage Tunnel

Play associated audio
D.C. is putting $2.6 billion into the construction of a new sewage tunnel that would reduce overflow in the District by 96 percent.
Jessica Gould
D.C. is putting $2.6 billion into the construction of a new sewage tunnel that would reduce overflow in the District by 96 percent.

The District is kicking off its largest construction project since the building of Metro, but it's not moving people, it's moving waste. The $2.6 billion project seeks to reduce sewage overflow into the Anacostia River, Potomac River and Rock Creek by as much as 96 percent by installing an enormous underground tunnel to treat wastewater.

The current system, called a combined sewer, dumps 2.5 billion gallons into area waterways every year, combining rain with sewage overflow. This creates problems for humans as much as other living organisms unfortunate enough to be living in area rivers.

"The sewer pipe has an intake that's stormwater right off the street," explains George Hawkins, the general manager of D.C. Water. "And sewage comes from a building. When that pipe fills, it allows overflow so that there’s some space so that it doesn’t come back into people’s basements or back into the streets. That overflow now goes into the river."

So, several years ago, the federal government required D.C. Water to fix the problem. The project they broke ground on today is the size of a Metro tunnel, and allows the city to treat and cleanse the water before it is released into the Potomac and the Chesapeake.

The project is scheduled to be finished by 2025.

NPR

Smithsonian In Talks Over London Outpost — Its First Overseas

If negotiations are successful, the Smithsonian would join other attractions at the site of London's Olympic Park.
NPR

Why Dump Treated Wastewater When You Could Make Beer With It?

An Oregon company has developed a high-tech process for turning sewage into pure drinking water. Now it's asking the state for permission to give its recycled water to a group of home brewers.
NPR

White House Won't Seek To End 529 College Tax Break

All 50 states and the District of Columbia sponsor 529 plans. Critics had called the proposal to limit them a tax hike on the middle class.
NPR

Yahoo Plans To Spin Off Remaining Stake In Alibaba

Yahoo has announced it will spin off its 15 percent stake in the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. Shareholders had been waiting for that decision. The move needs regulatory approval.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.