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DC Water Proposes Modifying Long Term Control Plan for Green Infrastructure
DC Water is proposing to modify its Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to incorporate a large investment in green infrastructure. Detailed information on the proposal is below.
- Important Considerations
- Informational Meetings
- Frequently Asked Questions
Under the terms of a federally mandated consent decree, DC Water is implementing the $2.6 billion Clean Rivers Project. The first phase of the project is underway and involves constructing a massive underground tunnel system to control combined sewer overflows to the Anacostia River. These overflows, which currently discharge about 1.5 billion gallons of diluted sewage to the Anacostia in an average year, will be reduced by 98 percent when the tunnel system is completed in 2022. The later phases of this plan include construction of similar tunnels to control overflows into the Potomac River and Rock Creek.
Since 2010, DC Water has explored the use of green infrastructure as a tool to reduce combined sewer overflows in the later stages of the Clean Rivers Project affecting the Potomac River and Rock Creek. Green infrastructure technologies mimic natural processes by capturing, slowing, and cleaning stormwater before it enters DC Water's combined sewer system. There is growing evidence that green infrastructure technologies like green roofs, porous pavement and rain gardens would provide greater benefits to the community than the previously planned underground storage and conveyance tunnels for the Potomac River and Rock Creek.top
The existing plans for the Anacostia River tunnels remain unchanged, but DC Water proposes including green infrastructure as part of the solution to combined sewer overflows in the Rock Creek and Potomac River drainage areas.
For Rock Creek, DC Water is proposing eliminating the planned tunnel and replacing it with $60 million of green infrastructure. Implementation would begin in 2015 and be completed by 2032.
For the Potomac River, DC Water is proposing $30 million of green infrastructure that would begin to be installed in 2016 and be completed by 2028. The green infrastructure investment, combined with new upgrades to the wet weather treatment capacity at DC Water's Blue Plains facility, will allow the previously planned underground tunnel along the Potomac River to be reduced in size. The smaller tunnel would be completed in 2030. In addition, $10 million would be invested to separate portions of the combined sewer system.top
- Timing of CSO Reduction
- Added Environmental, Social and Economic Benefits
- Reduced Financial Impact on Ratepayers by Spreading Out Construction
- Opportunity for Local, Green Jobs
- Supports Mayor's Sustainable DC Plan
DC Water's proposed schedule for green infrastructure implementation and construction of the reduced size Potomac River tunnel also helps reduce the impact of construction on neighborhoods and allows sufficient time for required construction approvals. Moreover, the revised schedule will help ease the financial burden on ratepayers responsible for financing the $2.6 billion project.
Green infrastructure would allow the District to enjoy water quality benefits in the Potomac and Rock Creek as early as 2015, well before the 2025 date in the existing plan.top
We recently closed a 90 day public comment period on this proposal where interested parties were encouraged to provide feedback on our proposed plan. Below are two key elements of the plan where public feedback proved particularly helpful:Topic #1: The Long Term Control Plan Schedule
The current Long Term Control Plan schedule requires all controls to be in place by 2025. DC Water is proposing the following modifications to the schedule:
- Rock Creek - complete GI by 2032 with CSO reductions beginning in 2015.
- Potomac River - complete GI by 2028, the Potomac Tunnel by 2030 and separation by 2032, with CSO reductions beginning in 2016.
We are proposing a schedule extension for GI because it is a technology new to the District that will take time to ensure successful implementation and to achieve the maximum benefits of GI. To achieve these objectives, we propose using adaptive management, where we will monitor and assess performance after construction of each phase to optimize performance of future phases of the project. For the Potomac Tunnel, a schedule modification is needed because of the new requirement to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and because of the planning and land use challenges in identifying locations to construct facilities within a densely developed section of the District.
DC Water believes that the proposed schedule extension is in the public's interest because it will help to achieve earlier CSO control, lessen the financial impact on ratepayers, and provide the time needed to optimize green infrastructure performance while accounting for the delay in tunnel construction that will result from the previously unanticipated Environmental Impact Statement requirement, as well as the planning and location challenges associated with installing GI in a densely populated urban environment.Topic #2: DC Water's financial commitment to GI
Whether it's a gray solution, or a gray/green hybrid solution, DC Water must invest in CSO controls to meet the requirements of the LTCP. DC Water is proposing to commit $60 million for GI in Rock Creek and $30 million for GI for the Potomac CSOs 027, 028 and 029. Coupled with $10 million for separation of CSO 025 and 026, that's a total investment of $100 million. A significant investment, but modest in contrast to the much larger $2.6 Billion overall investment necessary to meeting the requirements of the LTCP. A financial commitment to GI means that we will build as much GI as possible within the budget limit established. After each GI project is constructed, we will monitor its performance and use that information to improve the follow-on GI projects.
DC Water believes that expressing its commitment to GI as a defined financial commitment is the most responsible way to realize the benefits of GI because it will protect its ratepayers against an open-ended financial commitment, while continuing to ensure compliance with water quality standards.top
Informational MeetingsDC Water conducted the following meetings to share information on the proposed plan:
Public Summit Meeting: The meeting began with an overview of the proposed amendments and
supporting justification, followed by a question and answer period.
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
777 North Capitol Street, NE, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20002,
January 22, 2014 from 2-4 pm.
To watch a video of DC Water General Manager George Hawkins' presentation given during the summit, click play below.
To view the PowerPoint, click here.
- On Tuesday, February 18, 2014, DC Water hosted a public meeting in support of its Green Infrastructure proposal at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, located at 1524 35th Street, NW. The meeting was held in the 2nd floor New Founders Hall from 7:00pm-9:00pm. To view the presentation click here.
- On Thursday, February 20, 2014, DC Water hosted a public meeting in support of its Green Infrastructure proposal at Petworth Public Library, located at 4200 Kansas Avenue, NW. The meeting was held from 7:00pm-9:00pm.To view the presentation click here.
- On Thursday, February 27, 2014, DC Water hosted a public meeting in support of its Northeast Boundary Tunnel Project/Green Infrastructure proposal at McKinley Technology High School, located at 151 T Street, NE. The meeting was held from 6:30pm-8:30pm
- On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, DC Water attended the monthly meeting of ANC 2E to discuss construction impacts of its Green Infrastructure proposal for the Georgetown community. The meeting was held at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, located at 1524 35th Street, NW, in the 3rd floor Founder's Hall. To view the presentation click here.
- On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, DC Water attended the monthly meeting of ANC 4A to present its Green Infrastructure proposal. The location of the meeting was held at Fort Stevens Recreation Center, located at 1327 Van Buren Street, NW. To view the presentation click here.
- On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, DC Water hosted a public meeting in support of its Poplar Point Pumping Station Replacement Project/Green Infrastructure proposal at United Planning Organization-Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Community Service Center, located at 2907 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE. The meeting was held from 6:30pm-8:30pm. To view the presentation click here.
- On Wednesday, March 12, 2014, DC Water attended the monthly meeting of ANC 4C to present its Green Infrastructure proposal. The meeting was held at Petworth Public Library, located at 4200 Kansas Avenue NW. To view the presentation click here.
- On Wednesday, March 12, 2014, DC Water conducted a briefing on its Green Infrastructure plan to the Construction Management Association of America at the Frank D. Reeves Center, located at 2000-14th Street, NW. To view the presentation click here.
- On Thursday, March 13, 2014, DC Water attended the monthly meeting of ANC 3B to discuss the water quality and cost implications of its Green Infrastructure proposal. The meeting was held at Stoddert Elementary School, located at 4001 Calvert Street, NW. To view the presentation click here.
- On Thursday, March 13, 2014, DC Water attended the monthly meeting of ANC 3E to present its Green Infrastructure proposal. The meeting was held at Woodrow Wilson High School, located at 3950 Chesapeake Street, NW. To view the presentation click here.
- On Thursday, April 3, 2014, DC Water's Clean Rivers Project team attended the 5th Annual Ward 2 Town Hall co-hosted by DC Water General Manager George Hawkins and District Councilmember Jack Evans to provide information and address inquiries pertaining to the proposed Green Infrastructure plan. The meeting began at 6:30pm at Francis-Stevens Education Campus, 2425 N Street NW.
- On Wednesday, April 9, 2014, DC Water's Clean Rivers Project team attended the 5th Annual Ward 8 Town Hall Meeting co-hosted by DC Water General Manager George Hawkins and District Councilmember Marion Barry to provide information and address inquiries pertaining to the proposed Green Infrastructure plan. The meeting began at 6:30pm at United Planning Organization's Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Community Service Center, 2907 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE.
- On Thursday, April 10, 2014, DC Water's Clean Rivers Project team attended the 5th Annual Ward 4 Town Hall Meeting co-hosted by DC Water General Manager George Hawkins and District Councilmember Muriel Bowser to provide information and address inquiries pertaining to the proposed Green Infrastructure plan. The meeting began at 6:30pm at Shepherd Elementary School, 7800 14th Street NW.
ResourcesJanuary 22, 2014 GI Summit presentation slides
February 18, 2014 GI Public Meeting presentation slides
February 19, 2014 George Hawkins radio interview on The Kojo Nnamdi Show
February 20, 2014 GI Public Meeting presentation slides
March 05, 2014 GI Public Meeting presentation slides
Complete Document for Green Infrastructure
Executive Summary for Green Infrastructure
Complete Document Nitrogen Removal
Executive Summary for Nitrogen Removal
The documents were also made available for review in hardcopy format from January 22 through April 14, 2014, at the reference desks of the following libraries:
- Capitol View Library - 5001 Central Avenue, SE
- Mount Pleasant Library - 3160 16th Street, NW
- Rosedale Library - 1701 Gales Street, NE
- William O. Lockridge/Bellevue Library - 115 Atlantic Street, SW
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Library Room 307 - 901 G Street, NW
- Southeast Library - 403 7th Street, SE
- Shepherd Park Library - 7420 Georgia Avenue, NW
- Tenley-Friendship Library - 4450 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
- Lamond-Riggs Library - 5401 South Dakota Avenue, NE
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is the purpose of this initiative?
What is the Consent Decree?
What is Green Infrastructure?
What are the benefits of Green Infrastructure?
What alternative is DC Water proposing?
What is a Combined Sewer Overflow?
How many CSO outfalls currently exist?
What is the DC Clean Rivers Project?
What progress has already been made in CSO control?
What is DC Water proposing?
Will this plan give us less CSO reduction?
When will we start implementing GI?
What are the benefits of the proposed plan?
What does DC Water need to do to make the Consent Decree and other necessary sewer and wastewater improvements affordable?
How much will be saved by changing the schedule?
Is there any downside to changing the schedule?
Why is time needed to implement the hybrid GI approach for the Potomac River and Piney Branch?
What is the benefit of an adaptive management approach?
Why does DC Water need additional time?
How did DC Water arrive at an additional 7 years time extension to implement GI?
Why is a time extension in the public interest?
Why a dollar commitment. Why not commit to a level of CSO control or some other quantifiable metric such as number of greened acres?
With just a financial commitment isn't there a risk of less CSO control?
Where can I obtain more information?