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EPA Presents $73.5 million to D.C. Water and Sewer Authority

Release Date: 1/4/2001
Contact Information: Roy Seneca, (215) 814-5567

Roy Seneca, (215) 814-5567

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented nine grants totaling $73.5 million to the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) to improve sewage treatment and upgrade the water system throughout the district.

Bradley M. Campbell, EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional administrator said, “By making these grants, we are joining WASA in its commitment to the public and the people of Washington. Although additional work still needs to be done, WASA has made significant progress since its inception in 1996 by improving drinking water quality and the health of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay.”

Three of the grants totaling $64.9 million will go toward improving the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is the largest advanced treatment plant in the world. It serves more than two million people in the District of Columbia and surrounding counties in Virginia and Maryland.

One of the three grants to Blue Plains will replace the liquid chlorine, currently in use for disinfection, with a less hazardous alternative, sodium hypochlorite. This will reduce the risk of an accidental release of gaseous chlorine into the surrounding area. Another grant will increase the number of sludge dewatering centrifuges and thereby improve the quality and acceptability of the resultant biosolids product for agricultural use. The last grant will improve the outdated headworks of the plant, where objects that interfere with the treatment process are removed.

The remaining six grants totaling $8.6 million will be used to upgrade the district’s water system by replacing valves, eliminating cross-connections and dead ends, and replacing and rehabilitating water mains in various sections of the city. These projects will improve the structural integrity of older water mains, eliminate the potential for accidental contamination of the drinking water, and install valves to facilitate repairs when necessary.

Including these grants, the U.S. EPA has awarded more than $468 million to improve drinking water supplies and wastewater treatment in the District of Columbia under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act.