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.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Aug. 3, 2015

You can hear female vocalists perform blues and bluegrass at two concerts this week.

WAMU 88.5

Farms, Coasts And Air Conditioning: What Climate Change Means For Virginia

Climate change presents obstacles for just about everywhere in the United States — but rising temperatures are expected to be felt keenly in a number of Virginia's important economic areas.

NPR

Obama To Detail Tougher Plan To Fight Climate Change

President Obama will unveil climate change regulations Monday, expected to set tougher limits on coal than previously proposed. NPR's Scott Horsley previews the announcement with host Rachel Martin.
NPR

Despite Host Controversy, Amazon Takes A Chance On 'Top Gear'

The trio that made Top Gear the world's biggest car show will return to the small screen in a new show for Amazon Prime. The BBC canned one of its hosts last year after a fight with a producer.

Leave a Comment

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