Anacostia Pumping Station
In fiscal year 1934, the DC Government reported that the Public Works Administration (PWA) had allotted $1,759,500 for five sewer projects in the District: northeast boundary sewer, Piney Branch relief sewer, outfall sewer, upper Potomac interceptor, and upper Anacostia main interceptor and pumping station.
The initial PWA allotment for the Anacostia Interceptor and pumping station was $231,000. This was significantly reduced, however, after Maryland decided to limit its pollution into the Anacostia River by building treatment plants in the general area of the proposed Anacostia Interceptor.
In March 1934, the Peter D’Amato Construction Company was awarded a contract for $47,504 to install a section of the Anacostia Interceptor, “east of Anacostia Park, between Benning road and Eastern avenue.” During the same month, Ligon & Ligon Company, a utility contractor, was awarded a contract for $32,201 to build the pumping station, on Anacostia Avenue “between Benning road and Lane place.” (Evening Star, 1934)
The District’s 1935 fiscal year report noted that installation of the Interceptor and pumping station were underway, but their exact dates of completion are unknown.
As of March 2020, an Internet search shows that there is a “DC water UAMI [Upper Anacostia Main Interceptor] pump station” at 708 Anacostia Ave NE. This is probably part of the original site where the PWA-funded Interceptor and pumping station work was performed. However, it is unknown how much of the original sewer line and pump house still remain.
This was a major piece of the massive New Deal era upgrade in the city’s sewage system, with many new sewer lines, separation of storm and sanitary sewers and construction of the city’s first sewage treatment plant at Blue Plains. Water quality in the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers improved.
Later, it was realized that storm water carrying runoff from city streets could pollute the rivers, as well. In the 2010s, a $2.6 billion tunnel was built in Southeast Washington to carry stormwater past the Anacostia River, greatly improving water quality.
Report of the Government of the District of Columbia, For the Year Ended June 30, 1934, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1935, p. 50.
Report of the Government of the District of Columbia, For the Year Ended June 30, 1935, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1936, p. 74.
“$1,759,500 Granted District By Ickes For New Sewers,” Evening Star, August 22, 1933, p. A-1 (accessed March 13, 2020).
“$333,153 Sewer Job Awarded By District,” Sunday Star, February 25, 1934, p. A-4 (accessed March 13, 2020).
“Contract Is Awarded For Sewer Extension,” Evening Star, March 14, 1934, p. C-10 (accessed March 13, 2020).
“DC Heads Approve Logan School Plans,” Evening Star, March 28, 1934, p. B-11 (accessed March 13, 2020).
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee - wpatoday.org on March 6, 2015.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.
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