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Mayor Bowser and Vice President Biden Tour DC Water's Anacostia River Tunnel Project

Friday, January 16, 2015
Project utilizes innovative financing to support public infrastructure

(Washington, DC) -- Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser joined U.S. Vice President Joe Biden for a tour of DC Water’s Anacostia River Tunnel project near RFK stadium in Northeast Washington. The Anacostia River Tunnel project is part of DC Water’s $2.6 billion Clean Rivers Project that aims to significantly reduce combined sewer overflows in the District of Columbia for improved water quality.

“We look to Congress to make it easier for this new venture to be successful and create the conditions that allow us to work with regional partners and neighboring states to rebuild other infrastructure projects like our roads and mass transit system,” says Mayor Bowser. “Congress has a responsibility to help us move forward.

Today’s Anacostia River Tunnel Project Tour was also joined by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Environmental Protection Administrator Gina McCarthy, DC Department of the Environment Director Tommy Wells, and DC Water Chief Executive Officer and General Manager George Hawkins.

DC Water has received $210.8 million in federal funding for the project to-date. The rest of the project cost is paid for by local ratepayers. Earlier this year, DC Water became the first water/wastewater utility in the United States to issue century bonds with a 100-year final maturity, to better match the life expectancy of the tunnels and spread the cost to the generations of ratepayers who will benefit from them.

A combined sewer overflow (or CSO) occurs during heavy rain when the mixture of sewage and storm water cannot fit in the sewer pipes and overflows to the nearest water body. DC Water’s plan to significantly reduce CSOs to the Anacostia River is to build massive underground tunnels that will store the combined sewage and runoff during intense rainstorms and then convey the flow to the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant for treatment. The project is expected to produce nearly 2,500 employment opportunities.