The District is preparing to start building underground tunnels big enough for Metrorail cars. But the only things that will commute through these pipes are stormwater and sewage.
Officials with the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, which operates the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, are to break ground next week on the $2.6 billion project, which is meant to end to polluted discharges into waterways.
The city will build two tunnels as part of the project. The Anacostia tunnel will extend from Blue Plains along the Anacostia River to near RFK Stadium.
Another tunnel will run 120 feet underground along M Street SE between Ninth and 14th streets. The pipes will retain stormwater from heavy rains so it can be treated to remove filth before being released into the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, as well as Rock Creek.
The District operates a single pipe to handle a combination of stormwater and sewage in a third of the city. It performs poorly during rains. Overwhelmed by a mixture of stormwater and wastewater, it threatens to bubble back up into the toilets and sinks of homes and businesses.