Friday, May 30, 2008

National Harbor Broad Creek Sewer Overflow Easily Fixable

Technical Inquiry: Why is sanitary sewage being pumped up hill at least 200 feet high and several miles away to a pumping station when Blue Plains Sewage Treatment Plant is on a level plain about a mile away? Jurisdiction?  Maryland versus DC water permitting?

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission should install a new waste water pumping station at the Broad Creek Waste Water Pumping Station in Fort Washington. The station is almost 40 years old and it cannot handle the additional capacity generated by National Harbor during rain storms. Richard Krueger, chairman of the Broad Creek Historic District Local Advisory Committee has the right recommendations:

"Although WSSC has proposed to upgrade the station’s generators to address power outages, a second pumping station should be constructed to handle sewage generated in the Henson Creek basin east of Route 210 that will feed into the main Piscataway treatment plant. This would allow the Broad Creek Pumping Station to efficiently pump the anticipated increases in volume from National Harbor and new development west of 210." Gazette.Net
Usually sewer overflows are directed to outfalls at rivers instead of creeks. For instance, the Potomac River was partially 'cleaned' by directing the sewer overflows to outfalls along the Anacostia River. Thus, the overflows at WSSC’s Broad Creek Pumping Station in Fort Washington, MD are unacceptable. WSSC flows are directed to the Anacostia and Patuxent Rivers.

Sanitary sewer overflows occur in all older Eastern cities every times it rains. Every time it rains the excrement from toilets in the Washington Metropolitan Area ends up going directly into the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. It is the designed Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) system. The same occurs in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and elsewhere. Sanitary pipes also run parallel to creeks and rivers in many areas to serve as backup systems when the pipes leak.

WSSC already has a consent decree generated multi-year action plan to dramatically minimize, and eliminate where possible, sewage overflows. The comprehensive 12-year plan settles a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in November 2004 on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding overflows in WSSC’s wastewater collection system. [CONSENT DECREE]

WSSC is the 8th largest water and wastewater utility in the nation, serving more than 1.8 million residents in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. They operate and maintain seven water and wastewater plants, nearly 5,500 miles of fresh water pipeline and more than 5,300 miles of sewer pipeline. In their 89-year history, WSSC has never had a drinking water quality violation.

No comments: