DC Water expects to complete the Soapstone sewer rehabilitation project and reopen the park in four months, though the work remaining includes two Soapstone sewer pipe segments that pose additional challenges.
The pipes are along or near steep grades at Lenore Lane and Van Ness East. DC Water, at the January 16th ANC 3F meeting, told commissioners that it is considering a different method for curing the resin liner that will be fed into 260 feet of sewer line connecting Van Ness East to the main sewer. Its contractor, IPR, has used hot water to cure the now-completed main sewer line segments. That means steam and UV curing methods are on the table.
UV technology is the safest and least-polluting option. Studies have also shown it is stronger, and the UV relining process has a much smaller equipment footprint than hot water curing, which requires large boiler trucks. All of this information was included in a resolution ANC 3F passed in January 2022, stating the community’s preference for UV lining. The resolution also noted that DC Water had already selected a contractor that did not have UV capability. The work began in March of that year.
UV is an option now because the contractor, IPR, purchased a UV company in February 2022. DC Water told Commissioner Mitch Baer only five days prior to the January 2024 meeting that it would be bringing the relining alternatives to the DC Department of the Energy and the Environment within the next week or two, so ANC 3F had limited time to draft and potentially pass a new resolution backing UV. Four of the six commissioners voiced their discomfort with taking a vote on the matter so quickly, and they pushed the matter to February’s meeting.
Baer was instead encouraged by Commissioners Claudette David and James Tandaric to send a letter to DOEE about the pending resolution with a copy of the January 2022 resolution attached. David also mentioned that ANC 3F’s bylaws allow commissioners to take up the issue at a special meeting. It would require attendance of at least four members of the commission.
Since the meeting, Baer has been in conversations with both DC Water and Stephen Ours, head of air quality regulation at DOEE, about the choice of technology for relining pipes. He tells Forest Hills Connection that he feels confident that Ours understands the position of the community. He said he will call on his fellow commissioners again if further action is warranted.
DC Water did not participate in this part of the meeting. During its presentation, agency representative Jerrell Johnson said, “Everybody is excited to wrap the project up.” The project manager, Peter Tinubu, said the agency and IPR are “shooting for May 31st.”