Plans for extensive sewer rehab also explained at Tuesday meeting
Warning signs have been removed from the Soapstone trailhead on Albemarle and near the site of a sewer leak near the east end of Audubon Terrace. They shouldn’t have been.
On Tuesday, July 28th, ANC 3F hosted a special meeting for DC Water (watch the video). The agency’s representatives explained the actions they have taken to repair a leaking sewer pipe which was one source of heightened E. coli levels in Soapstone Creek. They are still investigating the cause of high E. coli levels found upstream from the leak, however. They’re doing DNA tests to determine whether the cause is human or animal, and had no answers as of Tuesday. They were asked about the safety of the water as the warning signs had been removed. William Elledge of DC Water said the signs should not have been taken down.
DC Water spent the rest of the meeting explaining two options for reconstructing the century-old sewer system running through Soapstone Valley Park. One option would reroute the sewer outside of National Park Service land. This would require two pumping stations and a permanent concrete roadway through Soapstone Creek over NPS land.
The other option would leave the pipes where they are and reline them. This would extend the useful life of the pipes by at least 50 years, likely beyond if the pipes that are now exposed to the elements can be protected somehow. The pipes lie unprotected in many places in the creek bed. This puts them at greater risk for rupture – trunks and rocks can crash into them during storm events.
Both options require cutting down trees and creating pathways, but the relining option would create temporary paths just wide enough to carry heavy equipment.
Connection contributor David Jonas Bardin is working on a piece that will explain the options’ pros and cons in more detail. In the meantime, you can check out the slides DC Water used for its presentation.