What We Do
About the Clean Rivers Project
Past Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Controls
CSO controls have been implemented in the past. Prior to DC Water's creation in 1996, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Utility Administration (WASUA) was responsible for the water and sewer system. In the 1950's, 60's and 70's, portions of the combined sewer system were separated to reduce CSO's. In the 1980s and early 1990s, WASUA constructed new facilities to control combined sewer overflows. Examples of such facilities include the Northeast Boundary Swirl Facility, which is a treatment facility located near RFK stadium. The facility can treat up to 400 million gallons per day of CSO from the Northeast Boundary drainage area. Another example is the inflatable dams, which are balloon-like devices installed in existing sewers. The dams are inflated to store combined sewer overflow in existing sewers to prevent overflows. There are 12 dams at 8 locations in the system. Other examples of prior CSO control activities include improvements to the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant, separation of portions of the combined sewer system, and construction of a monitoring and control system for key components of the system. DC Water continues to operate these and other CSO control components of the combined sewer system.
What is the Clean Rivers Project?
The District's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires the preparation of a Long-Term Control Plan (LTCP). The LTCP is a plan with a schedule to control CSO discharges to the area waterways. The LTCP planning effort began in 1998 and a draft of the LTCP was made available to the public and submitted to EPA and the District Department of Health in June 2001.
DC Water obtained public comments on the Draft LTCP in the summer and autumn of 2001 via public meetings, neighborhood meetings, a public hearing and by mail, fax and e-mail. Many comments were received. In August 2002, DC Water submitted a Final LTCP to EPA and the District Department of Health for approval. In response to public comments, the Final LTCP proposed significant reductions in CSO compared to the draft plan and was approved in December 2004.
In 2010, DC Water named the LTCP the Clean Rivers Project.