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First sewage-storing tunnel comes online in DC

The Anacostia River, which has for decades functioned as the polluted washbasin of an urban watershed, will be cleaner than the Potomac River it flows into the next time it rains.

In mid-March, DC Water opened the floodgate on a 2.3-mile section of concrete tunnel that’s been under construction since 2005. With the rolling away of a concrete slab, about 80 percent of the polluted sewage and stormwater runoff that has for decades flowed into the Anacostia will be diverted into this underground tunnel.

In this first of several sections of tunnel under construction, more than 400 million gallons of polluted water can be stored in the bowels of the city until the utility’s wastewater treatment plant can fully treat and release it into the Potomac.

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