D.C. Offers Plan to Deal With Neighborhood Flooding

Storage tanks and a tunnel that could hold millions of gallons of stormwater are being proposed to provide flood relief to two Washington neighborhoods.

District officials unveiled the plan Thursday for the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park neighborhoods of northwest Washington. The two communities were hard hit by flash flooding last summer.

The plan calls for converting the former McMillan sand filtration site into two storage tanks holding three million gallons each. And a six-block tunnel under First Street would hold six million gallons.

“There's been four floods this year,” said George Hawkins of DC Water. “The pressure from the neighborhood to find a solution. We had sewage backing up into people’s homes. We had flood water coming over land, coming downstairs.”

The extensive network of abandoned caverns was built in 1905 to filter millions of gallons of water through sand to cut down on water-borne diseases, News4’s Tom Sherwood reported.

The McMillan phase is expected to be completed by 2014 and the tunnel by 2016. They are only a temporary solution until more modern storm tunnels are created.

Sewer authority officials say the plan would cost $40 million more than previous flood relief plans. And it would be finished by 2022, three years earlier than the previous plan.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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