The Washington D.C. Agenda: To Protect Neighborhoods from Lead, Flooding and Sewer Overflows

The District of Columbia has embarked on an ‘as needed’ replacement program in which residents can request the utility to replace lead service line. The DC Water and Sewer Authority will also replace the private side- at the owner’s discretion and expense. The District is expanding these programs due to a recent and heightened awareness after attention directed from the Flint blunder. DC Water and Sewer Authority recently launched another program to help residents specifically in the neighborhoods of the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park by helping to protect their homes from sewer flooding during extreme storms. The assistance comes in the form of a rebate program, which entitles qualifying property owners to receive reimbursement for up to $3,000 for installing pre-approved flood-proofing measures. The program will be offered for properties that may have a history of sewage entering from outside sources. The city will help with the cost of purchase and installation, including doorway barriers, window well protection and the regrading of yards. Qualified property owners will also receive free home consultations to identify which flood-proofing measures are appropriate. Previously, a similar rebate program reimbursed property owners in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park for the cost of installing backwater valves to protect their homes from sewer back-ups. To date, property owners who have taken advantage of the backwater valve rebate program have installed rebated backwater valves at over 75 properties.  DC Water will contact property owners who are eligible for the new flood-proofing rebate program. The rebate programs are recognized as part of the effort to help alleviate historic flooding problems in these two low-lying neighborhoods.

D.C has also begun an unprecedented infrastructure improvement plan by issuing the nation’s first Environmental Impact Bond (EIB) to fund an initial green infrastructure project. The construction of green infrastructure is an initiative to utilize the best means of absorbing storm water during periods of heavy rainfall. Subsequently, preventing overflows to nearby rivers and their tributaries. Many cities-nationwide-are now following suit, to ensure the proper functioning of infrastructure systems, as well as, promoting environmentally-friendly agendas.


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