March 25, 2015 - 11:14 am

McMillan Fountain ready for its close-up

A photo posted by @ericfidler on

As part of DC Water’s construction work on the First Street Tunnel, the agency paved a temporary parking lot on the grounds of the McMillan Reservoir. Community leaders took a tour of the tunnel project on Saturday and got a close-up photo of the top of the McMillan Fountain, which stands just beyond the parking lot fence.

The base of the fountain, pictured below as it originally stood, lies dismantled in Fort Washington National Park in Prince George’s County.

McMillan Fountain

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February 05, 2015 - 5:10 pm

LeDroit Park’s water doesn’t come from McMillan

Utility Building at the McMillan Reservoir

The McMillan Reservoir lies just north of LeDroit Park and just east of Howard University. Don’t let this large and visible piece of water infrastructure fool you. The reservoir supplies water not to LeDroit Park, but to much of downtown, Capitol Hill, Southwest, the Navy Yard, and Historic Anacostia (see blue pipes below).

dc-water-map

According to a 1985 DC water distribution map, LeDroit Park’s water comes from a reservoir on Foxhall Road and a reservoir on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home (see the red pipe network).  These reservoirs, like all other reservoirs in the city, receive their water from the Dalecarlia Reservoir, which is run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The USACE pipes water to Dalecarlia from intake points at Little Falls and Great Falls on the Potomac.

Water distribution map

From Dalecarlia, water is piped to all of the secondary reservoirs, which typically sit atop highpoints in the city.  (In a previous post we covered the century-old, straight-line tunnel that delivers water to McMillan.) Gravity pulls the water down from each reservoir to neighborhoods at lower elevations.  Each neighborhood must be sufficiently lower than its supplying reservoir to receive enough water pressure at the faucet.

(I had difficulty finding these government maps, but found them at City Block.)

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August 21, 2012 - 11:12 am

Marc Morgan running for LeDroit Park’s ANC seat

Marc Morgan, President of the LeDroit Park Civic Association, is running unopposed for ANC 1B01, the seat that covers most of LeDroit Park. Myla Moss, our current ANC commissioner, has decided to retire from the seat she has held since January 2005.

Since I serve as Mr. Morgan’s campaign chair, I will share with you reasons you should vote for him in November.

For the past two years, Marc Morgan has served as President of the LeDroit Park Civic Association and has worked to bring the residents of the neighborhood together by hosting a mix of social activities and informational programs. Additionally, Mr. Morgan has been a strong advocate for the neighborhood by lobbying District agencies, including the DC Housing Authority, DC Water, and the District Department of Transportation, to better respond to problems facing residents in LeDroit Park.

For example, Mr. Morgan coordinated meetings between the residents of the Kelly Miller apartments and the DC Housing Authority to address crime, building deterioration, and youth engagement.

Last fall Mr. Morgan also coordinated the first annual LeDroit Park Oktoberfest, a neighborhood celebration that highlighted LeDroit Park’s diversity and offered activities for residents of all ages. Additionally, he has created a monthly neighborhood happy hour that provides neighbors an opportunity to meet and talk in a relaxed setting.

More recently, Mr. Morgan has work with the Metropolitan Police Department to address crime in LeDroit Park. Mr. Morgan continually pushes for increased police presence and responsiveness. Mr. Morgan also advocates measures to prevent crime and has consulted local residents and businesses to identify and report suspicious activity.

Within the next few weeks, he plans to roll out a new initiative that calls for increased police presence, identification of criminal hotspots, and crime prevention education in both LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale. The overall objective is to reassure residents that LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale are safe, thriving neighborhoods.

Outside of community activism, Mr. Morgan is the Director of Development for the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), a non-profit dedicated to promoting the use of renewable energy.

Morgan has been a resident of Ward 1 for over 12 years and has spent the last 4 years in LeDroit Park. For more information, you can visit his website or Facebook page.

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August 21, 2012 - 7:31 am

Mayor Gray announces a task force to address area flooding

Post-flooding debris along the 100 block of Rhode Island Avenue NW

Later this morning, Mayor Vincent Gray, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (D – Ward 5), and representatives from DC Water and District agencies, will announce the creation of a task force to address the flooding that has occurred in numerous basements in LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale since July.

The mayor and councilmember will hold the press conference today at 11:30 am at the park at triangle park at First Street and Florida Avenue NW.

During several downpours in July, the overtaxed sewers below Florida Avenue in LeDroit Park and below several streets in Bloomingdale backed up into residents’ basements.

DC Water, the semi-independent agency that manages the drinking water and sewer infrastructure, says the completion of new diversion sewer tunnels in 2025 will solve the problem for good. Waiting 13 years is little consolation for residents whose basements have flooded with diluted sewage.

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July 12, 2012 - 7:25 am

Video: Bloomingdalers upset about recurring flooding

Channel 4 has a short segment on Tuesday night’s flooding in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park. The Post also has a story describing the sewage-drenched nightmare that struck many residents’ basements.

DC Water, which is responsible for the water pipes and sewers, left the following note in the comments section of yesterday’s post on the flooding:

Neighbors,

We’ve received a number of phone calls, tweets and email inquiries from Bloomingdale, LeDroit and Eckington customers who faced flooding last night. We’re so sorry to hear this has happened, and want to provide some background information as well as next steps.

The sewer system under this part of the District was installed generations ago by the federal government. At the time, populations were smaller, rains were likely lighter, and people weren’t commonly living in basements. The system was not designed to handle the volume it handles today. We inherited this system and are working to upgrade it, but this is not a fast, simple or inexpensive process.

We do clean every catch basin in the District once a year, and we come through flood-prone areas to do more cleaning every time a big storm is predicted. This one was not part of any weather forecast. The volume of rain in such a short period would overwhelm many catch basins as well.

The best short-term solution is a backflow preventer, which a licensed plumber can install. The long-term solution is enlarging the capacity of the sewer system, which will come as part of our Clean Rivers Project. It is a 20-year, $2.6 billion effort to build 13 miles of tunnels, which will capture stormwater and sewage and send them to our Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The tunnel will start at Blue Plains and is under construction now. The last segment will make its way from RFK Stadium to Gallaudet University and will relieve the historic flooding problems in Bloomingdale, Eckington and Edgewood.

More details are here: http://www.dcwater.com/workzones/projects/anacostia_river_information_sheet.cfm. Customers with questions can feel free to email us at twitter@dcwater.com or call (202) 612-3400 anytime.

DC Water
Office of External Affairs

There are two things to glean from the comments section in yesterday’s post. One is that a number of Bloomingdale residents have said that flooding occurs in their basements more than once a year. Another is that DC Water’s solution, which includes the construction of an interceptor sewer tunnel, is years away.

DC Water will address residents on Monday, July 16 at 7 pm at St. George’s Episcopal Church at 2nd and U Streets NW.

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July 11, 2012 - 12:41 am

Storm floods streets and basements of Bloomingdale

During torrential downpours the Bloomingdale neighborhood experiences flooding. Yesterday evening’s storm flooded numerous Bloomindale basements and the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue, T Street, and First Street NW.

The Boundary Stone restaurant (116 Rhode Island Avenue NW) posted a photo of a flooded Rhode Island Avenue NW.

Why did this section of the street flood? DC Water, which runs the water pipes, sewers, and storm drains, blames the lack of pipe capacity in Bloomingdale.

A closer look at the 1861 Boschke map of the District of Columbia reveals that the northern reaches of Tiber Creek flowed right through Bloomingdale. In fact the creek flowed right where Rhode Island Avenue flooded at T Street NW.

Boschke map with modern streets superimposed

Whether the creek still flows underground in this location is something I will leave to experts. However, creeks, like all water, flow to the lowest point on the land. The creek’s former presence at this location suggests that the terrain slopes downward on all sides, directing rainwater to this critical flood point.

Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (D) was on the scene and DC Water has promised to brief him soon on their Bloomingdale flood solution, which they say is on the way. Though this degree of flooding is rare, Bloomingdale residents will surely welcome and demand a permanent fix.

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