Dalecarlia Reservoir Dam and Pumping Station (in background) - Washington DC
In 1934, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made repairs to the Dalecarlia Reservoir, the primary source of drinking water for Washington, DC. Work consisted of, “Reconstruction of two concrete spillways, replacing earth in embankments and a small dam, and cleaning silt deposits out of a water diversion channel” (Report of the Chief of Engineers, 1935). The Public Works Administration (PWA) supplied the $16,944 in funds for the project.
The Corps of Engineers upgraded the Delacarlia Pumping Station, as well: “The construction of [a] booster pumping station was continued, and at the end of the year was practically completed. Pumps, motors, and control equipment were installed, and the pump station and control station structures were finished. The pumps were placed in operation in January 1935 and resulted in an increased flow in the conduits, increased storage capacity in the reservoirs, and a marked improvement in the efficiency of the Dalecarlia filters” (Report of the Chief of Engineers, 1935).
The cost of the booster pumping station was about $193,500, which was met in part with funds from the Emergency Appropriation Act of 1934, which provided funds for emergency relief and public works throughout the nation. It is uncertain if those funds passed through the PWA or the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA).
The booster pumping station was expected to increase DC’s water capacity from 160 million gallons per day to 200 million gallons per day. Frank O. Bowman, chief of DC’s water supply, explained the significance of this increase: “At the present rate of increase of water demand in Washington the maximum capacity of the present plant would be reached about 1940… with the booster plant in operation, however, its life will be extended 10 years – to 1950.” (Evening Star, 1934).
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Report of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, fiscal year 1935 (Part 1), Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1935, pp. 1733-1736.
Report of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, fiscal year 1936 (Part 1), Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1936, p. 1747.
House Joint Resolution 117, “Making appropriations for relief purposes,” 74th Congress, April 8, 1935 (accessed February 7, 2020).
“Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant,” Historic American Engineering Record (HAER No. DC-54), National Park Service, 1997, p. 5 (accessed February 7, 2020).
“Another conduit proposed for D.C.” Evening Star, October 9, 1934, p. B-1 (accessed February 7, 2020)
“From the Potomac to your Pipes,” DC Water (accessed February 7, 2020).
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee - wpatoday.org on February 14, 2020.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.
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