Neal Augenstein | August 24, 2011 | wtop.com | Shared as an educational material
WASHINGTON– If you’ve been in the far west corner of the District of Columbia lately, you know it smells like … well, poop.
The Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant, on MacArthur Boulevard in Northwest, is draining and cleaning one of its sedimentation basins, which means months of decaying algae and other organic matter smells more than ripe.
“When you expose it to air, you get a bit of an odor,” Tom Jacobus, of the Washington Aqueduct, understates.
Several plant employees, in hardhats and wader boots, are standing thigh-deep in the fragrant muck, hosing the residuals of the water treatment plant process from the huge basins that are normally filled with water.
The gunk heads back to the Potomac River — but not for long.
“The process we’re going through now is going to be one of the last times we discharge into the Potomac River,” says Jacobus.
“In the future, starting in late Fall, we’ve installed equipment to continuously remove the sediment from these basins and it will piped to a facility we’ve built behind Sibley Hospital.”
“The material will be thickened, centrifuged, and shipped off in trucks for land application,” Jacobus says.
Jacobus says the current stink should be gone in the next day, and there may be a few more discharges during the transition to the new process.
“People in the neighborhood have been very understanding” says Jacobus.