Our reporting on DC Water’s Soapstone Valley sewer project has largely focused on the relining of the greater-than-century-old sewer lines. Another, and important, part of the project is protecting the lines from the next century of erosion and damage.
DC Water calls it stream restoration work. I would call it stream reconstruction, and from what I’ve witnessed, it’s a complex job.
DC Water reported at the May 16th ANC 3F meeting that its contractor is still performing restoration work at what it calls Site 1. That’s the site closest to Connecticut Avenue and Albemarle Street, and it is here that the contractor has done the most stream work. They have slowed the stormwater flowing from the large outflow pipe at the site by cutting it back. This allows more of the water to pool. They are also fortifying the area with large boulders to stabilize the pool and it from erosion.
Noise from Site 1 caught my attention last week, and I spent about half an hour watching the crew at work. Frankly, it was mesmerizing.
As they worked to fill one section in a rock wall, not just any boulder would do, it seemed.
The video begins with the backhoe operator removing some big rocks to make room for another, larger boulder.
(:45) He adds gravel.
(1:03) Trying out a boulder. Does this one work? Nope.
(2:10) More digging to make the space bigger.
(2:30) Will this boulder work? Yes!
After some finishing touches, they move on to the next round. At no point does it look easy, and there is plenty more to do. DC Water expects the stream work at Site 1 to continue through the end of June.
The sewer pipe relining work started at the opposite end of the Soapstone Valley in mid March. In late April, the pipe segments between Broad Branch Broad and Audubon Terrace were complete and the flow of sewage restored.
Before DC Water can reline the next section, the sewer bypass pipe must be dismantled and moved from the completed section, and reassembled. If the latest schedule holds, the pre-lining inspections of the next section will begin on June 5th.