DDOE Letter on Evaluation of Permeable Pavement Systems

Dear Mr. Bishop,

The District Department of Environment (DDOE) appreciates your interest in assisting us with meeting our water quality commitments under the District’s new Municipal Seperate Storm Sewage System (MS4) Permit. Permeable pavement systems are an important technology that the District is evaluating for greater use due to its ability to reduce stormwater pollution from entering our rivers and streams.

While DDOE can’t officially endorse a proprietary product, PaveDrain™ does appear to be a very promising solutions for the District. Particularly, the product’s apparent ease of installation that does not require certification for contractors and can be installed during any temperature, and the fact that PaveDrain™ can easily be removed and replaced for underground maintenance activities are especially appealing. These attributes would overcome problems that have been encountered by other permeable pavement solutions.

To meet the District’s water quality objectives, numerous technologies and design solutions will be required. I look forward to seeing PaveDrain™ and similar products installed and evaluated in the District to determine the best solutions to protect our waterways.

Jeffrey Seltzer, P.E.
Associate Director
Stormwater Management Division
District Department of Environment

DDOE Letter on Evaluation of Permeable Pavement Systems >

Study: Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Could Create 230,000 jobs

Source:  WTOP.com   Written by:  Dick Uliano

WASHINGTON  — Environmentalists devoted to restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay say cleaning the bay not only will produce more crabs and oysters, but also create almost a quarter of a million jobs.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation issued a report on Tuesday that is aimed at “debunking the myth” that environmental regulations kill jobs.  “If you look across Maryland, Virginia, the other Chesapeake Bay states, it’s predicted that 230,000 jobs will be created to help reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay,” says Will Baker, foundation president.  “It’s a cynical myth that cleaning up the water and the air kills jobs.”

The projections include engineering and construction jobs and also rely on a multiplier effect — jobs created as a result of increased economic activity based on the improvements.

In December 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered Maryland, Virginia, four other states and D.C. to reduce pollution flow into the bay by 25 percent by 2025.

But with the economy slumping and the unemployment rate high, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., warned in a memo last August that environmental regulations are hampering job creation.

A 2001 study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Michael Greenstone found that two decades of clean air amendments aimed at polluting plants caused a loss of 600,000 jobs.

But the foundation’s report, “Debunking the ‘Job Loss’ Myth,” says Chesapeake Bay cleanup and monitoring jobs increased by 43 percent across the region between 1990 and 2009.

Virginia and Maryland are expected to invest as much as $3 billion over the next 15
years building and upgrading 147 sewage treatment plants.  Construction also is underway on stormwater pollution control devices that catch and filter rain water.

Montgomery County is spending $305 million on such systems to limit pollution into the
bay.  “These are programs which require good technology to be put in place, they have to create jobs,” Baker says.


Billions Needed to Upgrade America’s Leaky Water Infrastructure

Source:  The Washington Post, January 3, 2012
Written By Ashley Halsey III

At first glance, the pizza-size hole that popped open when a heavy truck passed over a freshly paved District street seemed fairly minor.  Then city inspectors got on their bellies with a flashlight to peer into it. What they discovered has become far too common. A massive 19th-century brick sewer had silently eroded away, leaving a cavern beneath a street in Adams Morgan that could have swallowed most of a Metro bus.

It took three weeks and about a million dollars to repair the sewer, which was built in 1889. Time and wear “had torn off all the bricks and sent them God knows where,” said George S. Hawkins, general manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority. “We have to find them and see if they’re plugging up the system somewhere farther down the line.”

If it were not buried underground, the water and sewer system that serves the nation’s capital could be an advertisement for Band-Aids. And it is not much different from any other major system in the country, including those in many suburbs and in cities less than half as old as Washington.

Although they are out of sight and out of mind except when they spring a leak, water and sewer systems are more vital to civilized society than any other aspect of infrastructure.

Rapidly deteriorating roads and bridges may stifle America’s economy and turn transportation headaches into nightmares, but if the nation’s water and sewer systems begin to fail, life as we know it will too. Without an ample supply of water, people don’t drink, toilets don’t flush, factories don’t operate, offices shut down and fires go unchecked. When sewage systems fail, cities can’t function and epidemics break
out.  “All the big cities have these problems, and to me it’s the unseen catastrophe,” Hawkins said. “My humble view is that the industry we’re in is the bedrock of civilization because it’s not just an infrastructure that is a convenience, that allows you to get to work faster or slower. At least with bridges or a road, people have some idea of what it is because they drive on them and see them. ”

And just like roads and bridges, the vast majority of the country’s water systems are in urgent need of repair and replacement. At a Senate hearing last month, it was estimated that, on average, 25 percent of drinking water leaks from water system pipes before reaching the faucet. The same committee was told it will take $335 billion to resurrect water systems and $300 billion to fix sewer systems.

There is no better illustration of the looming national crisis than the District’s system.  The average D.C. water pipe is 77 years old, but a great many were laid in the 19th century. Sewers are even older. Most should have been replaced decades ago.

Emergency crews rush from site to site to tackle an average of 450 breaks a year.

Raw sewage flows into the Potomac, the Anacostia and Rock Creek whenever it rains hard — hundreds of times a year — an annual flush of about 3 billion gallons, according to D.C. Water.

Firefighters are equipped with computerized cue sheets to tell them which of the 9,157 hydrants in the District have enough water pressure to put out a fire.

The average water and sewer bill has gone up about 50 percent in just four years, to $65 a month for single-family homes. Unless there is federal regulatory relief, it may climb to $100 a month by the end of the decade.

The decrepit system has 1,300 miles of water pipe and 1,800 miles of sewers. The water pipes are being replaced at an average of 11 miles a year. At that rate, replacing them all will take more than 100 years.

There’s no money to do it any faster. And, Hawkins says, “if you did it much faster than that, you could paralyze the city in terms of traffic.”