by Marlene Berlin
This sign posted at the Soapstone Valley trailhead on Albemarle Street (though not on Broad Branch) over the weekend raised a lot of questions in the community and a lot of concerns. DC Water said Sunday that it had to do with a sewer leak, but that it would have more definitive information about the reason for the notice today. So I contacted DC Water, and this is what John Lisle, DC Water’s Chief of External Affairs, had to say:
To clarify, we are investigating to see if there is a sewage spill, but that is not confirmed at this time. DDOE notified NPS that E. coli levels are high in the water, and NPS in turn requested that DC Water post a sign, which we did.
We are currently working to produce and post additional signs downstream as well, and we are investigating to try and determine the source of the E Coli, but again we can’t say for sure at this time whether it is from a sewage leak.
3:10 p.m. update: And in the past half hour, still more updates from DC Water’s Lisle:
Things change fast. I just got a call from our Engineering Department to update the situation. They said we did a dye test today – putting dye in the sewer that runs under Audubon Terrace and it confirmed that there is a leak into the creek. We will now be working to repair that as quickly as possible.
And this, on the location of the leak.
I am told it is at the east end of Audubon Terrace where it dead ends into a trail. The leak is about 100-200 feet down the trail.