DC Water Commissions First Leg of Anacostia Tunnel System

The sky above, as seen from 110 feet below. DC Waters massive tunnel system now reduces combined sewer overflows to the Anacostia River by 80%. Photo courtesy of DC Water.

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) today announced it has commissioned a 7-mile, 23-foot diameter tunnel segment that will reduce combined sewer overflows to the Anacostia River by more than 80 percent. The tunnel, which is part of the Anacostia Tunnel System, will capture and hold up to 100 million gallons of combined sewage in heavy rainfalls and deliver it to the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant for treatment. The commissioning is ahead of the deadline outlined in a 2005 consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Justice and the District of Columbia.

“It has been my job, as well as my passion, to improve and protect the Anacostia River,” DC Water Board Chairman and Director of the Department of Energy and Environment Tommy Wells said. “I crafted The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act of 2009 to do just that. This project brings immense improvements to the District in terms of healthier waterways which will lead to a more vibrant waterfront and opportunities for recreation on the Anacostia.”

The construction of the tunnel began in 2013. Mining for the next tunnel segment, the Northeast Boundary Tunnel, will commence soon and is scheduled for completion in 2023.

Once completed, the entire Anacostia Tunnel System will capture 98 percent of sewage overflows to the Anacostia River and provide more flooding relief for residents in the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park neighborhoods.

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