Drinking Water is Distributed by Elevation Levels

The water distribution system within the District is intended to provide an average water pressure of approximately 50 pounds per square inch to the customer's tap. A difference in ground elevation of approximately 410 feet from the low point to the high point in the District requires that the water system be divided into seven service areas.

Low Service Area

The Low Service Area includes the area around the federal buildings, along the Anacostia River, and located between ground elevations 0 to 70 feet. The Low Service Area is supplied from the Washington Aqueduct's Dalecarlia Pumping Station and DC Water's Bryant Street Pumping Station. Treated water storage in the Low Service Area is provided by DC Water's Brentwood Reservoir (25 mg at overflow elevation 172 feet).

First High Service Area

The First High Service Area generally serves the area west of the Anacostia River with ground elevations between 70 and 140 feet. The First High Service Area is supplied from the Washington Aqueduct's Dalecarlia Pumping Station and DC Water's Bryant Street Pumping Station. Treated water storage in the First High Service Area is provided by the Washington Aqueduct's Foxhall Reservoir (20 mg at overflow elevation 250 feet) and DC Water's Soldiers Home Reservoir (15 mg at overflow elevation 250 feet).

Second High Service Area

The Second High Service Area generally includes the area west of the Anacostia River, between Rock Creek Park and Eastern Avenue, and having ground elevations between 140 and 210 feet. The Second High Service Area is supplied from the Washington Aqueduct's Dalecarlia Pumping Station and DC Water's Bryant Street Pumping Station. Treated water storage in the Second High Service Area is provided by the Washington Aqueduct's Van Ness Reservoir (14.6 mg at overflow elevation 335 feet).

Third High Service Area

The Third High Service Area generally includes the area west of the Anacostia River, separated by Rock Creek Park, bounded by Eastern and Western Avenues, and having ground elevations between 210 and 350 feet. The Third High Service Area is supplied from the Washington Aqueduct's Dalecarlia Pumping Station and DC Water's Bryant Street Pumping Station. Treated water storage in the Third High Service Area consists of DC Water's Fort Reno Reservoir No. 1 (5.4 mg at overflow elevation 424 feet) and the Washington Aqueduct's Fort Reno Reservoir No. 2 (20 mg at overflow elevation 424 feet).

Fourth High Service Area

The Fourth High Service Area generally includes the area west of the Anacostia River, separated by Rock Creek Park, bounded by Eastern and Western Avenues, and having ground elevations above 350 feet. The Fourth High Service Area is supplied from DC Water's Fort Reno Pumping Station (western portion) and the 16th & Alaska Pumping Station (eastern portion). Treated water storage in the western portion of the Fourth High Service Area is provided by DC Water's Fort Reno Elevated Tank No. 2 (0.16 mg at overflow elevation 485 feet).

Anacostia First and Second High Service Areas

The Anacostia First High Service Area generally includes the area located southeast of the Anacostia River, and located between ground elevations between 70 and 170 feet. The Anacostia First High Service Area is supplied from DC Water's Anacostia Pumping Station which draws water from the Low Service Area. Treated water storage in the Anacostia First High Service Area is provided by DC Water's Fort Stanton Reservoir No. 1 (3 mg at overflow elevation 258 feet) and Fort Stanton Reservoir No. 2 (10 mg at overflow elevation 258 feet).

The Anacostia Second High Service Area includes the area located southeast of the Anacostia River along Southern Avenue, and located at ground elevations above 170 feet. The Anacostia Second High Service Area is supplied from DC Water's Anacostia Pumping Station which draws water from the Low Service Area. Treated water storage in the Anacostia Second High Service Area is provided by DC Water's Good Hope Road Elevated Tank (0.5 mg at overflow elevation 382 feet) and the Boulevard Elevated Tank (2 mg at overflow elevation 382 feet).

Bryant Street Pumping Station
Bryant Street Pumping Station

Pumps and Valves

The water storage and pumping responsibilities are shared by DC Water and the Washington Aqueduct. DC Water operates four treated water pumping stations (Anacostia, Bryant Street, Fort Reno, and 16th & Alaska), and eight reservoirs and elevated tanks. The Washington Aqueduct operates the Dalecarlia Pump Station and three reservoirs (Foxhall, Van Ness, and Fort Reno).

The water distribution system, which is operated and maintained by DC Water, includes almost 1,300 miles of pipes and mains ranging from 4 to 78 inches in diameter. DC Water's water transmission and distribution system includes about 87% cast iron pipe, 8% ductile iron pipe, 2.5% steel pipe, and 2.5% reinforced and prestressed concrete pipe.

The distribution system includes appurtenances necessary for proper system operation, inspection, and repair, such as main line valves at regular intervals to allow flow control, air release valves to prevent air entrapment, blow-off valves for draining the pipeline, check valves to permit flow in one direction only, and closed division valves to allow transfer of water during emergency conditions from service areas with higher ground elevations to service areas with lower ground elevation. The system includes over 36,000 valves and hydrants.