WSSC, Dignitaries Kick Off Sewer Rehab Project

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) on Dec. 7 kicked off a landmark rehabilitation project, marking the first time WSSC has been awarded federal funding for a reconstruction project through the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

Earlier this year, MDE awarded a $6 million grant to WSSC as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grant is being used to conduct sewer infrastructure renewal in the Lower Anacostia area of Prince George’s County.

U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Peter Silva, U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, U.S Rep. Donna Edwards, WSSC General Manager Jerry N. Johnson, Anacostia Watershed Society Executive Director Jim Connolly and other area leaders gathered at WSSC’s headquarters in Laurel, Md., to launch the project. It will rehabilitate 22,000 linear feet of sewer mains and laterals in portions of Bladensburg, Hyattsville, Brentwood, Cheverly, Colmar Manor, Landover Hills and Mount Rainer, Maryland and provide an estimated 65 additional jobs to the region.

"Recovery Act funds are revitalizing water infrastructure and the economy at the same time," said Silva. "Environmental protection and economic strength are not mutually exclusive, but in fact can go hand-in-hand."

“This project is a perfect example of Recovery Act funding at work – not only will WSSC be able to make much needed improvements to our community’s infrastructure, but it will infuse money into the economy and help keep Marylanders in their jobs,” said Van Hollen, co-chair of the bipartisan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus and of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force.

“This grant will not only help address the problems we are having with our aging infrastructure,” said Johnson, “it also set an example of how federal stimulus funding can be used to improve everyday lives, not only by helping the environment but also by boosting the local economy.”

Internal pipeline inspections in the project area indicated the sewer mains and laterals are deteriorating and that the number of sewer backups and overflows has increased. Some of the mains in the area are nearly 90 years old.

The project is slated for completion by December 2010.

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