December 2011, Vol. 23, No.12


On Oct. 12., DC Water (Washington, D.C.) broke ground on a 20-year, $2.6 billion effort, dubbed the Clean Rivers Project, to reduce pollution in the Anacostia and Potomac rivers and Chesapeake Bay. The project, the largest in DC Water’s history, aims to nearly eliminate combined sewer overflows to the rivers, as well as to Rock Creek.

The groundbreaking ceremony celebrated the first phase of the project, the Blue Plains Tunnel, which will be a 7400-m-long (24,300-ft-long) tunnel that measures 7 m (23 ft) in diameter and is buried more than 30 m (100 ft) below ground. The tunnel will extend from the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant in southwest D.C., roughly along the east bank of the Potomac River, crossing under the Anacostia River and extending along the west bank to a point near RFK Stadium. This section of tunnel, together with surface hydraulic facilities and a tunnel dewatering pump station, are scheduled to be operational by March 2018.

Other tunnel sections also are planned. However, DC Water is beginning discussions to reopen the 2005 consent decree agreement that mandates the tunnels to explore environmentally friendly development technologies that could reduce or eliminate future pieces of the project, create jobs, “green” Washington D.C., and reduce rate increases for customers.

“We are looking at other ways to manage combined sewage in the Rock Creek and Potomac River sections,” said DC Water General Manager George S. Hawkins. “No city or utility has ever done a sustained and large-scale pilot study of green roofs, trees, and porous pavement to help in those areas. We hope to do just that.”


 See “A Drop’s Life,” a short, animated video that describes the Clean Waters Projects from the perspective of a single water drop. 



The Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Bostonrecently saw the completion of a major project to increase the efficiency of its renewable energy capabilities. The project included installing a state-of-the-art 1.1-MW back pressure steam turbine generator (BPSTG).

By taking advantage of its renewable resources, such as using methane from the plant’s digesters to produce power, Deer Island currently self-generates 22% of its electricity needs and it will increase that number to 25% in 2012.

SourceOne, an energy management and consulting services subsidiary of Veolia Energy North America (Boston), designed the project and oversaw the installation of the new BPSTG unit.

In addition to a waste-to-energy boiler plant, Deer Island also uses wind turbine generators, hydro turbine generators, and photovoltaic paneling on facility rooftops. The plant treats an average of 1.3 million m3/d (350 mgd) of wastewater each day from 43 communities in greater Boston and is one of the largest electricity users in the Northeast.


©2011 Water Environment Federation. All rights reserved.