In 1938, the Public Works Administration (PWA) allotted $47,870 for the Macomb Street Divorcement Sewers project. Two new sewer lines were installed in the area of Macomb Street and 38th Street NW, running southwest in the direction of Massachusetts Avenue for a length of about 5,000 linear feet (nearly one mile).
These divorcement sewers separated domestic sewage from storm water run-off (two products that had previously collected in a combined sewer line), allowing the sewage to be treated at the new Blue Plains facility and reducing pollution caused by periodic overflow during rain storms.
The divorcement sewer project was completed in early-to-mid 1939, just one of many New Deal-funded efforts to reduce pollution and odor problems in the nation’s capital.
The exact route and survival of these sewers is uncertain, and that is known only to the staff of the DC Water and Sewer Authority.
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“Sewer Projects For Area To Help Stop Pollution,” Evening Star, July 29, 1938, p. B-1 (accessed February 23, 2020)
“Half-Year Bills Urged In Request For Water Funds,” Evening Star, August 18, 1938, pp. B-1 and B-13 (accessed February 23, 2020)
“Notice to Contractors – P.W.A. Project No. 1025-F, Unit 5,” Evening Star, September 22, 1938, p. B-12 (accessed February 23, 2020)
“Pollution Fight to Cost $5,477,000,” Sunday Star, October 2, 1938, p. A-8 (accessed February 23, 2020)
“Sewer Tunnel Is Being Blasted Through Rock Under M Street,” Evening Star, July 17, 1939, p. B-1 (accessed February 23, 2020)
Report of the Government of the District of Columbia, For the Year Ended June 30, 1939, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1940, p. 108
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on February 26, 2020.
Additional contributions by Richard A Walker.
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