What We Do

The Northeast Boundary Neighborhood Protection Project


The Northeast Boundary Neighborhood Protection Project is an infrastructure initiative to address historical flooding issues in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park. This multi-step effort will reduce the pressure on the undersized section of the Northeast Boundary Trunk Sewer that serves these neighborhoods by doing the following:

  1. Adding 3 million gallons of stormwater storage from a stormwater line that runs east of the McMillan site, using existing and new facilities on the site itself. (Completed: Spring 2014)
  2. Installing bioretention at 15 sites along the Irving Street NW corridor between Michigan Avenue and North Capitol Street to capture, infiltrate and treat stormwater runoff before it enters the sewer system. (Completed: Spring 2014)
  3. Adding 8 million gallons of stormwater and wastewater storage from a combined-sewer line that runs west of the Washington Aqueduct McMillan treatment plant, in a new tunnel under First Street NW. (Estimated completion: Spring 2016)
  4. Re-aligning the Northeast Boundary section of the Clean Rivers Project, to make it more effective in preventing flooding and require tunneling under less private property, and accelerating construction of this section. (Estimated completion: 2022)

Mayor's Task Force

This project is the largest and most visible work product of the Mayor's Task Force on the Prevention of Flooding in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park, co-chaired by DC Water General Manager George Hawkins and City Administrator Allen Lew. Mayor Vincent C. Gray convened the task force in August 2012, and its final report was issued in December 2012.

The report included 25 recommendations to mitigate flooding in these neighborhoods. These include short-, medium- and long-term solutions in the following categories:

  • Engineering Components
  • Regulatory Components
  • Code Revision Components
  • Operation and Maintenance Components
See all 25 recommendations here (PDF 33 kb) .

Short-Term Mitigation

District agencies are coordinating on several programs providing home engineering consultations and flood proofing; rebates for backwater valves to prevent sewage from backing up into basements; and a rain barrel and green infrastructure program to absorb rainwater before it gets into the stormwater and sewer systems.

Medium-Term Mitigation

DC Water is implementing significant engineering projects in the medium term, though they are a slight departure from the original report. Originally, the plan called for transforming two cells of the abandoned sand filtration facilities at McMillan Reservoir to capture six million gallons of stormwater before it could enter the combined sewer system. These are underground, concrete storage facilities that were once used to filter drinking water and would hold the stormwater during intense rains. When the rains subside, and there is enough space in the pipes, this stormwater would be fed back into the District's sewer system and be conveyed to Blue Plains to be treated.

After further investigation, it was determined that several hospital centers that were deemed to have separate sewers in fact have combined sewer systems. Since only stormwater and not sewage is to be stored in these cells, only one cell will be used. Its capacity will be increased and additional capacity will be added by 2014 through bioretention cells (rain gardens) and in-line storage on First Street.

The second installation will serve the same purpose and store an additional eight million gallons of stormwater. This is a tunnel to be built under First Street, NW, running from Rhode Island and First Street, to the southwest corner of the McMillan site. When construction is complete in 2016, this tunnel (called the First Street Tunnel) will hold stormwater during intense rainstorms, after which a temporary pumping station will deliver the stormwater up into the sewer system to be treated at Blue Plains. In 2022, the tunnel will connect to the DC Water Clean River Project tunnels and the pump station will be removed.

The revised plan is compared here to the original, showing the total storage to be the same in 2016 as originally anticipated.

Long-Term Mitigation

DC Water began construction on the massive $2.6 billion Clean Rivers Project in 2011 to build large storage tunnels from Blue Plains all the way up to the Northeast Boundary district. The Authority is changing the alignment of the system to provide better drainage for the affected area. DC Water has also accelerated project plans to reach this area sooner than originally scheduled, so that in 2022 the tunnel system to the south will meet up and tie into the First Street Tunnel. At that time the lift station can be removed as drainage will be achieved through gravity.

How to reach us

If you have a water or sewer emergency, including a backup or flood to report, please call (202) 612-3400 at any time.

For general questions about flooding in Bloomingdale or LeDroit Park, please call (202) 787-2688 or email bloomingdale@dcwater.com.

Additional Information

What We Do