One approach to ensuring a healthier environment in the District of Columbia and our local waters involves constructing enormous tunnels to collect stormwater and sewage from select portions of the city so that it can be treated at the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant rather than overflowing into our waterways. This approach is described in DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project.
On Wednesday DC Water held their Green Infrastructure Summit at COG and outlined their proposed innovative approach to minimizing those overflows by reducing and capturing stormwater runoff with rain gardens green roofs porous pavement and other green infrastructure tools. These low energy techniques mimic natural water absorption by capturing slowing and cleaning storm water. Putting in place these green infrastructure measures would require $100 million in investment by DC Water out of a $2.6 Billion project and would reduce the size of traditional concrete tunnels that will be built to address this situation. Officials also noted that building and maintaining this type of green infrastructure would not only provide a broad range of environmental benefits but it would also provide more reliable middle-class jobs.
What happens in the Anacostia and Potomac River systems affects residents’ well-being the vitality of the Potomac and ultimately the water quality of America’s largest estuary the Chesapeake Bay. Read more about DC Water’s green infrastructure proposal and what COG is doing to protect the Chesapeake Bay.