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04/10/2013

DC’s Monstrous Tunnel Boring Machine

 
DC is using new technology to clean up the sewers and add value to the city.

Christening a tunneling machine with DC tap water at DC Clean Rivers Project. (PRNewsFoto/DC Water)

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) named its massive tunnel boring machine (TBM), christened it with DC tap water, and prepared to send it underground to tunnel more than four miles along the Potomac at a depth of approximately 100 feet. The machine is more than 400 feet long and weighs more than 1323 tons. It will dig the Blue Plains Tunnel, which is a portion of DC Water's Clean River Project to significantly reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and improve water quality in the District of Columbia.

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin, DC Councilmember Mary Cheh, DC Water Board of Directors Chairman Allen Lew and DC Water General Manager George S. Hawkins participated in today's event at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant.

"Much like her namesake, 'Lady Bird' will be performing important work for the long-term health of our rivers," said Mr. Hawkins. "This tunnel system will reduce combined sewer overflows into the Anacostia by 98%."

As in many older cities, about one-third of the District has a combined sewer system. A CSO occurs during heavy rain when the mixture of sewage and stormwater cannot fit in the sewer pipes and overflows to the nearest water body. CSOs contain bacteria and trash that can be harmful to the environment.

DC Water's plan to significantly reduce CSOs to the Anacostia River is to build massive underground tunnels that will store the combined sewage and runoff during intense rainstorms and then release it when the system has the capacity to treat it. Similar tunnels exist in cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, and Atlanta.

"Earlier this year, I unveiled the Sustainable DC Plan, a 20-year plan to make the District the healthiest, greenest, most livable city in the nation," says Mayor Gray. "The Clean Rivers Project goes a long way to providing sustainability for the region, making our waterways healthier and cleaner."

DC Water Board Chairman and City Administrator Allen Lew added, "This project is a massive undertaking, but it will pay huge benefits as well. Today's celebration marks the beginning of an ambitious effort to improve the health of the Anacostia River."

DC Water's TBM was named "Lady Bird" after Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Johnson, First Lady and wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson. She formed The Committee for a More Beautiful Capital, and encouraged her husband to declare the Potomac River "a national disgrace," which drew attention to the declining health of America's waterways and was a catalyst for the eventual Clean Water Act of 1972.

Starting from two deep shafts at Blue Plains, the Lady Bird TBM will tunnel 24,200 linear feet up the Potomac River and to the Anacostia River. Additional tunnels are also planned to reduce CSOs in the Potomac and Rock Creek sewersheds, although DC Water is also developing a green infrastructure pilot program.

 

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04/24/2014

Explore real-time green building data through the newly launched data visualization resource from the USGBC.

04/23/2014

A key part to curbing emissions is working with local and city officials, tenants, and other groups to help make entire communities more sustainable. BOMA International shares the following strategies for greening your facility and community.

04/21/2014

Lighting fixes target the bottom line.

04/16/2014

The U.S. Army plans to start development of a solar array that will provide about 25% of the annual installation electricity requirement of Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

04/15/2014

The EPA's annual greenhouse gas emissions report is now available.

04/14/2014

Are you what some would call a “climate-change denier”? If so, you'll want to read this.

04/10/2014
Los Angeles has remained the top city for ENERGY STAR certified building since 2008, while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the fifth consecutive year, according to a new list released by the EPA.
04/09/2014
Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time.
04/07/2014
Field demonstrations of newly proven energy-efficient technologies are yielding valuable results for the U.S. Navy, helping it meet energy goals.
04/03/2014
Building owners in Chicago now have more options when it comes to getting their building energy data verified.
04/01/2014
According to a new report from Eaton, such outages are up 15% in 2013 over 2012 and over half of those surveyed believe that downtime could have been prevented.
03/31/2014
The newly revised ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2014, Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing, and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, aims to provide a consistent method of measuring, expressing, and comparing the energy performance of buildings.
03/27/2014
Facility managers face an every expanding array of sustainability choices and challenges, but for the next generation of FMs, green practices could be second nature as sustainability literacy enters the K-12 school system.
03/25/2014
While the economic recession explains the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to fall.
03/24/2014
University of Washington (UW) scientists have built the thinnest known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.
03/21/2014
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2378 into law, effectively enacting the state’s first building code.
03/19/2014
In an attempt to improve building energy performance, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a web-based tool called the Technology Performance Exchange, or TPEx.
03/18/2014
Could green building practices pose unanticipated life-safety hazards?
03/13/2014
Worried about workplace violence in your facility? Researchers have discovered that “mindfully observing” high-risk employees can avert danger and workplace violence.
03/11/2014
Through the DOE’s Building Energy Codes Program, every dollar the DOE has spent on building energy codes over the past two decades has resulted in $400 in energy cost savings.
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