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News & Press Releases

June 29, 2023

Lead Free DC by 2030

DC Water’s 2023 Lead Service Line Replacement Plan details the necessary actions from DC Water, customers, the District, and other stakeholders to accelerate replacement efforts. Since the 2019 launch of the Lead Free DC (LFDC) program, DC Water and our partners have been making significant strides to reduce the sources of lead in drinking water. As of May 2023, we replaced 4,287 lead service lines with copper pipes, using District funding to provide free and discounted replacement programs for customers. Customers have saved nearly $7 million by taking advantage of these programs.

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June 21, 2023

DC Water Receives First 100% Biodiesel Vehicle from US EPA’s DERA Program Grant

DC Water has received its first of 12 B100 vehicles from the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program grant that will replace 13 existing diesel vehicles. The Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition (GWRCCC) and DC Water secured the funds from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) DERA Program in 2021 to purchase 12 trucks equipped with Optimus’ revolutionary 100% biodiesel (B100) advanced fuel system technology. On May 18, 2023, a Combo Vac Unit was deployed with DC Water.

This is the first step in the DERA grant’s goal to retire 13 of DC Water’s diesel powered vehicles, replacing them with 12 B100 vehicles by the end of 2024. This effort is projected to reduce DC Water’s greenhouse gas emissions by 76%  (98.3 metric tons), the equivalent of removing 21.4 passenger cars or planting 1,625 trees. In addition, the project will reduce harmful particulate matter known to cause cancer, asthma, and lung-related issues by 97%. The vehicles will also reduce nitrogen oxides (known to cause low level ozone damage) by 94% among other harmful air emissions. Implemented across 31 zip codes in Washington, D.C., this project will reduce U.S. dependence on imported petroleum, demonstrate cost–effective energy efficiency, and improve air quality in the District and greater Washington region.

Maureen Holman, Vice President of Shared Services for DC Water, said, “We are thankful to the EPA for providing the grant funding and the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition for partnering with us to add these clean energy vehicles to our fleet. They will help us further reduce our carbon footprint and support our strategic imperative to be a more sustainable organization.”

Antoine M. Thompson, GWRCCC Executive Director, added, “transitioning large fleets in the region to clean transportation fuels takes time, but the greater Washington region will be a cleaner, healthier place because of it. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions improves health outcomes for some of the DMV’s most at risk, reducing the likelihood of negative health implications from carbon and diesel emissions. GWRCCC is excited to see tangible results of our partnership with DC Water and the EPA come to fruition.” 

Other project partners include fuel supplier – Chevron/Renewable Energy Group (REG), and public outreach partners – Metropolitan Washington Council of Government, the Clean Fuels Alliance Foundation, and the National Biodiesel Board.

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March 1, 2023

DC Water is First and Only Municipal Water Utility to Issue Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report

Water today issued its second annual Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report, which provides a detailed update on ESG-related programs, projects, initiatives, and goals that occurred over the course of the fiscal year of 2022 (FY22). This report builds on the organization’s inaugural FY21 report, as it recognizes the related but distinct role resiliency plays in our enterprise, making it an ESG+R report, and provides an emphasis on accountability, resiliency, and a more integrated relationship with DC Water’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) program.

“DC Water remains the only municipal water utility to produce and publish this type of comprehensive ESG report,” said David Gadis, CEO and general manager of DC Water. “Prioritizing ESG-related activities has significantly advanced our mission to provide high-quality water services in a safe, sustainable, and efficient manner. The FY22 report continues to hold us accountable to our many goals and objectives in numerous ways, such as by publishing 33 indicators that showcase our ESG performance over the past year relative to the targets originally set. We see our ESG program as a critical tool to our success.”      

The ESG+R report provides additional information on topics such as climate resiliency, risks, and opportunities through the adoption of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework. This disclosure details DC Water’s governance, strategy, risk management, metrics, and targets for mitigating and adapting to climate change.

“We are pleased to report the progress made within the last year in relation to DC Water’s ESG-related initiatives,” said DC Water Chair of the Board of Directors, Tommy Wells. “This report enables DC Water to build trust and hold itself accountable for the many efforts it is undergoing to enhance operations. The ESG+R report, working alongside the updated strategic plan, Blueprint 2.0, enables DC Water to leave lasting positive impacts on the surrounding community and ecosystem. We look forward to tracking more progress throughout the upcoming years.”

Highlights from the report include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. (Environmental) In FY22, the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant earned another Platinum Peak Performance Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). This recognition honors ten consecutive years of 100 percent compliance with the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
  2. (Social) FY22 set a record for DC Water’s Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs) with $12.8 million in assistance provided by DC Water in the over 18,000 accounts enrolled in the CAP programs. This included 2,650 total new enrollments across the three tiers of CAPs, assisting 50 percent more customers and providing an additional $2.5 million in assistance compared with FY21.
  3. (Governance) Over FY22, DC Water stood up the initial framework of an ESG Governance structure to institutionalize ESG throughout the Authority, allocate roles and responsibilities, guide future initiatives, manage data governance of metrics, and intentionally establish the relationship between DC Water’s strategy, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), and ESG programs.
  4. (Resilience) DC Water secured $20.3 million in funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant to fund the next phases of the floodwall being constructed around the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. This grant is expected to cover 70 percent of the cost of the design build contract for the three remaining segments of the floodwall (segments A, B, and D). The fourth segment, segment C, was completed in July 2021.

To read the full FY22 ESG+R report, please click here.

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January 6, 2023

Proposed Budget for FY 2024

DC Water presented its proposed FY 2024 Budget to the Board of Directors on January 5, 2023, and that presentation is available here.

In January and February, Board committees will consider the operating and capital budgets. Rates for FY 2023 and FY2024 were previously adopted by the Board.

Customers and stakeholders can learn more by attending the upcoming Board committee meetings in January and February. To view the Board Calendar visit dcwater.com/board-calendar.

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December 12, 2022

First Street Tunnel winter construction is key step before commissioning Northeast Boundary Tunnel

WASHINGTON, DC — DC Water will reach a significant milestone for the Clean Rivers Project when it places the Northeast Boundary Tunnel (NEBT) into operation during the summer of 2023. The NEBT will increase the combined storm runoff capacity of the Anacostia River Tunnel (ART) system as it directs captured flows of combined stormwater and sewage to the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant for treatment. This will significantly reduce flooding events in the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park neighborhoods.

To achieve this milestone next year, DC Water will begin the next phase of construction by temporarily taking the First Street Tunnel (FST) out of service from December 2022 through February 2023.

“The work this winter is a critical preparatory step to make the final connection between the Northeast Boundary and First Street tunnels next year,” said Moussa Wone, Director of DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project. “Once that link is established and the NEBT is in service, there will be a continuous 13-mile- long, 100-foot-deep tunnel, with 190 million gallons of  storage, from Bloomingdale to Blue Plains.”

Workers will isolate the tunnel from the existing sewer system, clean the tunnel and remove a concrete structure that currently directs flow to the temporary pumping station at Thomas Street, NW. The entire procedure is expected to take about three months to complete.

DC Water scheduled the work to take place during the winter season when serious storms are least likely to occur. The FST is a key component for flooding mitigation in and around the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park neighborhoods.

DC Water’s Clean Rivers team has developed measures to mitigate the impact of taking the tunnel out of service. These measures—and the project itself—have been the subject of numerous DC Water meetings with ANCs, community groups, tunnel forums, and key stakeholders.

Facilities that will remain in service during the FST shutdown are Irving Street’s green infrastructure, the McMillan Stormwater Storage Facility, the stormwater sewer pipe under Rhode Island Ave NW, and pervious pavement (that absorbs rainwater) installed in Bloomingdale neighborhood alleys.

To mitigate flooding through this construction:

DC Water will:

  • Clean catch basins in the Bloomingdale area at least once a month
  • Prepare sandbags and make them available in the neighborhood if a major event is predicted. This is specific to the areas that the First Street Tunnel serves. Contact DC Water’s 24-hour Command Center at 202-612-3400.
  • If during the construction, a large storm is forecast, DC Water can put the FST back into service with 24 hours advance notice 

Residents in the affected areas should:

  • Consider adding a backflow prevention device if they have not already (DC Water has a discount/reimbursement program for impacted residents in these neighborhoods.)
  • Look into DC Water’s Floodproofing Rebate Program for residents of Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park
  • Sign up to receive e-newsletters about the project, by sending your email address to dcclearrivers@dcwater.com
  • Visit the project website at dcwater.com/NEBT for more information
  • E-mail questions to DCCleanRivers@dcwater.com or call the 24/7 NEBT Hotline at 800-988-6151
  • For emergencies, contact DC Water’s 24-hour Command Center at 202-612-3400

Channing Street residents may notice increased activity, equipment staging, vehicular traffic, and construction work in their area.

DC Water continues to work with the community during this important project to improve the Anacostia River and mitigate flooding.

More information on the complete program can be found at: dcwater.com/cleanrivers

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September 8, 2022

DC Water CEO to Serve on President Biden’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council

WASHINGTON, DC — DC Water announced today that CEO and General Manager David L. Gadis has been named to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC). Mr. Gadis will serve with distinction as the sole expert on the Council from the wastewater utilities sector, among more than two dozen new appointments that included industry leaders from transportation, energy, and defense.

Mr. David Gadis said, “I am deeply honored to receive the appointment to NIAC at such a critical time, while national attention is so firmly fixed on infrastructure solutions. President Biden has committed unprecedented resources to fixing these issues. We can’t overemphasize the outstanding necessity of the Infrastructure Act, which invests more than 1.2 trillion in restoring and improving our roads, electricity grid, and access to broadband. However, with its dual commitment to clean water and Great Lakes and rivers restoration, our aging wastewater utilities must also receive ample consideration and funding.”

As CEO of DC Water, David Gadis oversees a $1 billion annual budget, a workforce of approximately 1,200 employees, and the largest Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant in the world that provides services for nearly 700,000 District residents. Since taking leadership of the Authority in May 2018, Gadis has led several transformative initiatives related to environmental justice and water equity. Some of DC Water’s innovative approaches and projects, such as the $2.7 billion Clean Rivers Project, have become part of the national conversation around water equity.

Gadis continued, “In my role with DC Water, I have a unique vantage point to help inform NIAC. The challenges facing wastewater utilities are not insurmountable, and we have tackled many complex policy issues, ranging from environmental justice to water equity. In my new capacity on NIAC, I am excited to shine a light on wastewater utilities as an integral part of infrastructure.”

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June 7, 2021

DC Water Releases Plan to Remove All Lead Service Lines in the District by 2030

DC Water released the Authority’s Lead Service Line Replacement Plan

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May 27, 2021

Press Release
DC Water’s Pioneering Environmental Impact Bond a Success

DC Water today announced the success of both its first green infrastructure (GI) projects in Rock Creek and the innovative Environmental Impact Bond (EIB) that financed them. The intent of the projects and robust evaluation of project outcomes was to establish the effectiveness of green infrastructure in the District and reduce combined sewer and stormwater runoff into Rock Creek, improving the health of waterways in the District.

These projects achieved the goals set in 2016, reducing runoff into Rock Creek by nearly 20 percent. DC Water’s prediction, measurement, and reporting of the outcomes is a signature component of the EIB, the first issuance of its kind in the country. The information gained through performance monitoring resulted in optimizations that will ensure a future for green infrastructure at DC Water.

The proceeds from the EIB provided the upfront capital needed to construct the first GI project in the DC Clean Rivers Project, which involved the installation of 25 acres of bioretention (rain gardens) in planter strips and curb extensions, permeable pavement on streets and alleys, and two green infrastructure parks in the Rock Creek sewershed in Wards 4 and 5. 

DC Water achieved the objectives established at the outset of the financing:

  • Ensure responsible stewardship of ratepayer funds by transferring a portion of performance risk associated with technologies that had never been implemented on a large scale in the District 
  • Enhance future decision-making about how much and which types of green infrastructure to build 
  • Create a model funding mechanism that other municipalities can leverage to advance the use of green infrastructure to address stormwater management in their communities
  • Establish a green jobs initiative targeting local workforce development and sustainable job creation, including training and certification opportunities for District residents
  • Improve transparency to local ratepayers by formally predicting, measuring, and publicly reporting the environmental impact of the green infrastructure

Each of these objectives was achieved. Additionally, post-construction monitoring found the green infrastructure reduced stormwater runoff by nearly 20 percent from previous levels, achieving the performance goals.  

The rigorous measurement and reporting inherent to the EIB provided DC Water with lessons learned about green infrastructure that can be applied to other projects. In its final report on Rock Creek Project 1, DC Water highlights 15 lessons learned about porous pavement, bioretention, and other green infrastructure facilities, noting “significant information has been learned in terms of design, construction, and monitoring approaches that have added to DC Water’s body of knowledge and expertise related to GI. Collectively, the information gained through the performance monitoring and the resulting optimization allowed DC Water to be responsive, make corrections, and ensure a future for green infrastructure at DC Water.”

Based on these findings, DC Water plans to implement a hybrid approach in the Rock Creek sewershed that blends the best of gray and green infrastructure. The hybrid approach provides the same degree of stormwater control as the all-gray (using traditional engineering techniques) infrastructure alternative, lowers capital costs as compared to the all-gray or all-green alternatives, and will be implemented by 2030, the deadline in the 2016 Consent Decree Modification. 

This hybrid approach is accountable to District ratepayers and delivers additional benefits such as more green space for public use and more local green jobs as compared to the all-gray option. DC Water’s ambitious local green jobs program includes training and certification opportunities for District residents interested in GI construction, inspection, and maintenance.  

“This financing instrument required analysis at a level not usually performed,” said David L. Gadis, DC Water Chief Executive Officer and General Manager. “Utilities across the country can apply our learnings to their stormwater programs. The information and lessons learned will benefit the entire sector and will inform our future projects as well.” 

DC Water CFO Matt Brown added, “This model allowed DC Water to share a portion of the financial risk associated with green infrastructure investment on this scale. Because the projects met the established goals, the District benefits with cleaner waterways and a greener environment. This EIB establishes a replicable and scalable approach to financing green infrastructure for other communities across the country.”

Gadis added, “Another component that serves as a model to utilities nationwide is the local jobs and workforce development program we created in partnership with the Water Environment Federation. We are training and certifying District residents for green jobs and we aim to fill 51 percent of the new jobs created by the GI program with District residents.”

About DC Water
DC Water provides more than 700,000 residents and 21.3 million annual visitors in the District of Columbia with retail water and wastewater (sewer) service. With a total service area of approximately 725 square miles, DC Water also treats wastewater for approximately 1.6 million people in neighboring jurisdictions, including Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland and Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia. 

The Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant is located at the southernmost tip of the District, covering 153 acres along the Potomac River. Blue Plains is the largest advanced wastewater treatment facility in the world and home to North America’s first thermal hydrolysis plant that enables anaerobic digestion to create electricity from wastewater.

The DC Clean Rivers Project is a $2.7 billion program to control combined sewer overflows to its three waterways—the Anacostia and Potomac rivers and Rock Creek— improving the District’s water quality and creating a healthier future for District residents. More information on the Environmental Impact Bond – and hi res images—can be found at dcwater.com/EIB. More information on the Clean Rivers Project can be found at dcwater.com/cleanrivers.

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April 15, 2021

EPA Administrator Regan Announces $156 Million Loan to DC Water to Accelerate Critical Infrastructure Repairs

Today, at an event with Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, DC Water Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David L. Gadis, and other local officials, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced a $156 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water).

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December 18, 2020

AAA rating assigned to DC Water’s WIFIA loan

DC Water announced a AAA rating by S&P for the upcoming Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan. DC Water plans to close on the loan in the coming weeks for approximately $156 million in EPA funding.

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October 19, 2020

DC Water Awarded $1 million Grant by EPA for Exciting New Wastewater Innovation

Vince Morris
(202) 787-2081

October 19, 2020

DC Water announced today that it is partnering with several universities on groundbreaking new research that will save customers money and could improve water quality.
The goal is improved wastewater treatment and DC Water’s concept for improving the technology has the potential to save millions for cities around the world, said Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David L. Gadis.
“Our goal is to reduce energy use and save our customers money while using innovative technology to improve the environment,” explained Mr. Gadis, while praising the partnership with George Washington University, Northwestern University and the University of Queens in Ontario.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded DC Water its ‘Science to Achieve Results grant’ with a three-year timeframe for achieving results. At DC Water, the project is led by Christine deBarbadillo, the director of clean water and technology.
She said the authority has worked well with GW for many years on exploring solutions and upgrades to existing wastewater technology. She also said that the research is focused primarily on finding ways to denitrify wastewater in the Chesapeake Bay area while cutting the chemical and financial costs required to complete the process along with reducing energy consumption.
Removing nitrogen helps prevent harmful algae growth in the water and is a critical element in DC Water’s requirement to clean wastewater to the highest possible level before discharging it back into the Potomac River, where it leads to the Bay.
Nitrogen and phosphorus lead to algal blooms in wastewater. When that happens, the health of marine life, from fish to crabs to dolphins, is jeopardized.
According to deBarbadillo, the typical treatment methods used by DC Water to eliminate nitrogen involves costly equipment and using anammox, which is expensive and consumes a tremendous amount of electricity.
“We are using a different pathway into the nitrogen cycle to more efficiently remove nitrogen and save energy and chemical costs,” deBarbadilo said.
DC Water is also working with the Water Research Foundation on the technology.

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