Posted by Aaron Wiener on Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm
Hobbit farm today, storm runoff storage tomorrow?
Earlier this afternoon, the mayor`s office sent out notice that a mystery announcement would take place tomorrow morning at the McMillan Sand Filtration site on North Capitol Street, at which Mayor Vince Gray and others will reveal and break ground on a ``major infrastructure project.``
But Mike DeBonis beat them to it — the revealing, that is, not the groundbreaking.
DC Water and the city government, he reports, are planning to use the site to divert stormwater that`s been flooding the Bloomingdale neighborhood this year.
The long-term plan is to construct a Metro-sized tunnel under First Street to alleviate flooding, but that won`t be ready until 2016 at the earliest. So officials want to start work immediately on converting some of the site`s defunct filtration cells into runoff storage tanks, a task that could be finished by spring 2014. Three acres at the southwest corner of the site will also be used to bore the tunnel.
But there`s a catch: These measures could delay or interfere with the city`s plans to redevelop the McMillan site into a mixed-use community of housing, retail, and a medical center. D.C. Water first began exploring the possibility of using McMillan for flooding relief in September.
DeBonis reports that ``officials believe that the flood relief plan will not significantly alter the development plans.`` We`ll see if that holds.