In the Bay Journal: First sewage-storing tunnel comes online in DC

In the Bay Journal: First sewage-storing tunnel comes online in DC
March 23, 2018

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The Bay Journal interviewed two Anacostia Watershed Society Presidents: Jim Foster (current) and Robert Boone (founder) for their article about the DC Waters Clean Rivers Anacostia Tunnel.

From the article:

“For years and years, the government would show slideshows about the Anacostia and what was wrong with it,” said Robert Boone, who founded the Anacostia Watershed Society in 1989 and served as its president for 20 years.

Those slideshows, he said, included photos of the combined sewer overflows, or CSOs, that would gush sewage-laden water into the river during heavy rains.

A worker is shown in a portion of the Anacostia tunnel still under construction this spring. The underground structures, the size of metro rail tunnels, will eventually hold hundreds of millions of gallons of polluted runoff so they can be treated, instead of overflowing into the Potomac and Anacostia rivers as it has for decades. (Dave Harp)A worker is shown in a portion of the Anacostia tunnel still under construction this spring. The underground structures, the size of metro rail tunnels, will eventually hold hundreds of millions of gallons of polluted runoff so they can be treated, instead of overflowing into the Potomac and Anacostia rivers as it has for decades. (Dave Harp)
“And then they would move onto the next thing. That was just part of DC,” Boone said.

At the time, ending those overflows seemed so expensive and complicated that it was deemed all but impossible. Officials said it would require digging up the entire downtown area to separate the sewage pipes from the stormwater system.

A lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of the Anacostia Watershed Society and other groups in the mid-1990s ultimately forced the District government into action. DC Water, under a different name at the time, entered into a long-term agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to begin the painstaking and costly work.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Maureen Farrington

Maureen Farrington

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