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Washington D.C.: Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant Floodwall Segment

Floodwall to protect one of the world’s largest wastewater treatment plants serving an essential population hub.

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Washington, D.C.: $20.32 Million

This is a Justice40 project.


Washington D.C. sits in an extremely low-lying basin on the Potomac River. Despite being inland, its highest elevation is just over 400 feet and it is vulnerable to flooding through increased storm intensity and its location next to the river. This historically diverse city, both racially and economically, is also one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country. According to the 2020 U.S. Census the city had a 14.6% population increase over the previous decade, making wastewater and flood protection further essential.

Project Description

This project includes construction of three floodwall segments to complete a floodwall system for the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The completed floodwall system will provide the plant with flood risk mitigation against the 500-year flood event, plus 3 feet of freeboard to account for wave action and sea level rise.

The construction of a floodwall around the plant was selected as the best mitigation alternative to reduce the risk of loss of wastewater service: it is the most feasible, effective at reducing risk, and cost-effective solution, and provides the greatest number of ancillary benefits for the surrounding area. This large infrastructure project will effectively mitigate flood risk at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, a critical facility and one of the largest advanced wastewater treatment plants in the world. This multi-jurisdictional project will be implemented in partnership with a variety of organizations, including the District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland, Fairfax County in Virginia, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the District's Flood Task Force, neighboring properties including Joint Base Anacostia and Bolling and the Naval Research Laboratory, federal regulatory stakeholders including the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. District agencies include the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Department of Energy and Environment, State Historic Preservation Office, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and Ward 8 representatives.