Last week for the first time in 71 years DC Water has begun construction on a water storage tower. This tower is the last piece of the plan to equalize water pressure east of the Anacostia River and part of a larger program to equalize water pressure and maintain the water system throughout the District of Colombia.
Washington DC had fallen woefully behind in the maintenance and upgrade of its water distribution system. The EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act regulations effectively only regulate the water treatment plant which in the cast of Washington DC is operated, maintained and upgraded as needed by the Army Corp of Engineers. DC Water is responsible for the water distribution system which is very old and not well maintained.
One of the long term problems has been poor water pressure, impaired water quality, system reliability, and ensuring adequate flows throughout the southern section of the existing Anacostia 1st high service area, DC Water planned years ago to improve pressure with a new pumping station, water tower and replacing the transmission mains. The pumping station was built in 2008, but the tower was delayed by the permitting and approval process.
|The old water tower in 2009 from DC Water|
The height of the water tower provides the pressure. One way that a water tower improves water pressure is by being tall. For every foot of height, water pressure increases 0.43 pounds per square inch (psi). A typical municipal water supply runs at between 50 and 100 psi. The height and size makes the water tower very visible and the impact on the views and the historical St. Elizabeth’s campus. The water tower needed to be located on the highest natural point adjacent to the current piping system feeds. The base of the tower is approximately 90 feet diameter and the top is 60 feet in diameter. Much of the delay can be attributed to the necessary process of impact studies and public hearings.
|Consultants floated balloons to study impact of the new tower|