Upstream at the U.S. Capitol, lawmakers may dither over the right national strategies to cope with climate change and some Republicans would prefer not to believe in it at all. But downstream, the largest facility of its kind in the world is busy preparing to protect the lawmakers and the capital from a foul-smelling catastrophe that could arise if the threat of sea-level rise is ignored.
Two major, multimillion-dollar construction projects underway at the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority's Blue Plains facility will demonstrate to other utilities that the time to prepare is now and, despite the expense, the alternative of doing nothing in the face of global warming could flood a city and its water source with raw sewage.
The projects, a sea wall designed to protect the plant from an unprecedented 500-year storm surge and an on-site combined heat and power plant set for completion this summer, are among a handful of measures the utility is taking to cut carbon and prepare for extreme weather events.
Experts in the field say D.C. Water is an innovator among U.S. water utilities, especially with its work toward emissions reduction and energy independence.
"There's maybe about a dozen wastewater utilities who are taking up the future, so to speak, and positioning themselves to be a different type of utility -- not so much a reactive, but a proactive utility," said Lauren Fillmore, senior program director at the nonprofit Water Environment Research Foundation.
D.C. Water, Fillmore said, is "probably the leader of that group."
Click headline to read more--
Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc