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New consolidated DC Water office space will better serve customers, improve transparency

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and DC Water CEO David Gadis celebrate new building
May 30, 2019

Open house for the public shows off remarkable innovation

DC Water today welcomed the public into its new administrative office space in Southeast, a consolidation of multiple departments that will provide customers with easy access to board meetings, contracting opportunities and meeting space.
The new office building is located adjacent to the Navy Yard metro station, multiple Capital Bikeshare stations and is central to far more residents than the previous headquarters at Blue Plains, where wastewater from the District, Maryland and Virginia is treated.
“Consolidating into one location, on property we own, saves money and makes the operations of the Authority more accessible,” said DC Water CEO and General Manager David L. Gadis. “By bringing our staff together, we are able to work more efficiently and collaboratively.  Locating here is better for all involved.”
From its inception, DC Water housed many staff at Blue Plains but also maintained office space on M Street, on North Capitol Street and elsewhere. Importantly, the new building also frees up valuable space for future growth at the treatment plant.
Gadis and others provided a look at the new office space today at an open house held for local neighbors, elected leaders, nearby businesses and others from all corners of the District.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton commented, “DC Water’s new digs on the banks of the Anacostia River are in keeping with the progress DC Water is making on our Clean Rivers Project to reduce the overflow of storm and sewer water from our 19th century combined sewer system into the Anacostia River, the Potomac River, and Rock Creek.  I appreciate that DC Water is also building facilities above ground to capture overflow in tunnels along M Street SE, the Southeast Freeway and the I-295 corridor.  Special congratulations are in  order for DC Water's environmentally enlightened green technology, readily apparent in the new state-of-the-art green building that uses recycled water and energy."

Tommy Wells, Chairman of the DC Water board of directors, said, “The new DC Water headquarters is a smart investment and use of rate payer funds.  We no longer need to rent market rate office space and we will occupy a soon to be certified LEED Platinum building. One of the most environmentally innovative engineered buildings, DC Water is using sewer heat to save operating costs and prove feasibility of a new technology. I’m proud DC Water has built a beautiful, environmentally sound building to house its headquarters alongside its historic sewage pumping station on the banks of the Anacostia River.”
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen “I’m excited to welcome DC Water to Ward 6 and the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. It is fitting to have our water utility, who is leading the effort to restore the Anacostia River to be a clean and healthy river, sit right by the river as a reminder of the importance of their work each day.”
The new building is unique in many ways.
It was designed to mimic the motion of water through the wavy curved layout and the distinctive green glass that covers the building on the Anacostia River side. The new office is built above an operating pump station, is 151,300 square feet and houses about 350 people.
Planning for the new building began in 2013 and the structure will be LEED Platinum Class A, incorporating almost every state-of-the-art environmentally sustainable feature used in modern construction. Rainfall on the roof is collected and used for flushing the toilets and for irrigating the green roof that occupies 50 percent of the surface area on the roof.
Most unusual is the heating and cooling system– sewer heat recovery – which leverages the heat in sewage to provide low-cost, recycled energy. This heat recovery and cooling system is extremely rare in the United States and is both economical and good for the environment.
Walking the lobby of the building is an educational experience, as the wastewater treatment process, energy generation and recovery processes, biosolids production and conveyance systems are explained in visual and narrative forms along the walls. Strategically placed interior windows give a sneak peek into the processes that take place there.
The building has won numerous design awards including:

  • 2018 – Fast Company Innovation by Design – Spaces, Places and Cities – Honorable Mention
  • 2019 – National Society of Professional Engineers – DC Society – Project of the Year Award
  • 2019 – 4 different ASCE AEI Professional Projects Awards