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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, but we need your feedback before April 14, 2014. Please provide comments on the proposal or complete our brief online survey.

Background


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.
Comments?

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Proposal

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.


When the LTCP was finalized in 2002, there was no effluent limit for total nitrogen in DC Water's discharge permit for the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant. In 2007, EPA modified DC Water's permit to include a lower nitrogen limit to improve the Chesapeake Bay. DC Water evaluated a range of controls and developed a plan that involved adding 31 million gallons of storage to the LTCP tunnels and constructing an enhanced clarification treatment system at Blue Plains to allow practical removal of nitrogen. This plan is called the Total Nitrogen/Wet Weather Plan or TN/WW Plan. DC Water is proposing to modify the LTCP to incorporate the changes made by the TN/WW Plan, as well as certain other changes that have occurred since the LTCP was finalized. EPA and the District have accepted the projects in the TN/WW Plan and DC Water has been implementing it since 2007. These changes were approved by EPA and DOJ in 2009, but they have not yet been incorporated into the LTCP.
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Benefits


There are many reasons why DC Water believes its proposal is an improvement from the existing plan. DC Water's Green Infrastructure Plan offers the following benefits:


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.
Comments?

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Support

We are seeking public comment on this proposal and encourage you to provide feedback on our proposed plan. While we welcome comments on all aspects of the plan, there are two elements of the plan where your feedback would be particularly helpful:

Topic #1: Do you Support the 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: Do you Support DC Water making a 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.
Comments?

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Submit Your Comments

Comments on the proposed amendments may be submitted until 5:00 pm, April 14, 2014 via:

- Email:
CleanRiversGI@dcwater.com

- Mail:
Clean Rivers GI
DC Clean Rivers Project
5000 Overlook Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20032

- Online Survey

More information is available below under "Resources" or by contacting DC Water's Office of External Affairs at (202) 787-2200.

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Informational Meetings

DC Water will conduct the following meetings to share information on the proposed plan:

  • Public Summit Meeting: The meeting will begin 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 will host a public meeting in support of its Green Infrastructure proposal at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, located at 1524 35th Street, NW. The meeting will be 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 will host a public meeting in support of its Green Infrastructure proposal at Petworth Public Library, located at 4200 Kansas Avenue, NW. The meeting will be held from 7:00pm-9:00pm.To view the presentation click here.
  • On Thursday, February 27, 2014, DC Water will host 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 will be held from 6:30pm-8:30pm
  • On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, DC Water will attend the monthly meeting of ANC 2E to discuss construction impacts of its Green Infrastructure proposal for the Georgetown community. DC Water is scheduled to make its presentation at approximately 7:15 pm. The location of the meeting will be 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 will attend the monthly meeting of ANC 4A to present its Green Infrastructure proposal. The location of the meeting will be Fort Stevens Recreation Center, located at 1327 Van Buren Street, NW. To view the presentation click here.
  • On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, DC Water will host 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 will be held from 6:30pm-8:30pm. To view the presentation click here.
  • On Wednesday, March 12, 2014, DC Water will attend the monthly meeting of ANC 4C to present its Green Infrastructure proposal. DC Water is scheduled to make its presentation at approximately 7:30pm. The location of the meeting will be 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 will attend the monthly meeting of ANC 3B to discuss the water quality and cost implications of its Green Infrastructure proposal. DC Water is scheduled to make its presentation at approximately 7:15pm. The location of the meeting will be Stoddert Elementary School, located at 4001 Calvert Street, NW. To view the presentation click here.
  • On Thursday, March 13, 2014, DC Water will attend the monthly meeting of ANC 3E to present its Green Infrastructure proposal. DC Water is scheduled to make its presentation at approximately 8:15pm. The location of the meeting will be Woodrow Wilson High School, located at 3950 Chesapeake Street, NW. To view the presentation click here.
    Comments?
  • On Thursday, April 3, 2014, DC Water's Clean Rivers Project team will attend 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 will begin at 6:30pm and the location is Francis-Stevens Education Campus, 2425 N Street NW.
  • On Wednesday, April 9, 2014, DC Water's Clean Rivers Project team will attend 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 will begin at 6:30pm and the location is 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 will attend 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 will begin at 6:30pm and the location is Shepherd Elementary School, 7800 14th Street NW.
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Resources

January 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

Documents
Complete Document for Green Infrastructure
Executive Summary for Green Infrastructure

Complete Document Nitrogen Removal
Executive Summary for Nitrogen Removal

The documents will also be available for review in hardcopy format after January 22, 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
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Frequently Asked Questions

What 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?

What's the next step?

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 comment on the proposal or obtain more information?
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