On August 22, 1933, Public Works Administration (PWA) chief Harold Ickes announced a grant of $1,759,500 for various DC sewer projects. These included an extension of the Northeast Boundary Sewer “intended to eliminate a pollution nuisance in Kingman Lake in Anacostia Park” (Evening Star, 1933).
The following March, a contract of $589,000 was awarded to Michael Bell Balso, Inc., to extend the sewer “from Twenty-first and A streets NE to the Anacostia River, south of Kingman Lake” (Evening Star, 1934). The extension was completed sometime in 1935. The trajectory appears to lie beneath parts of the RFK sports complex west of the Anacostia River.
In 1938, the PWA provided new funding for the replacement of a section of the Northeast Boundary Sewer, in an area near Twentieth and C Streets NE. The DC government awarded the contract for this work to De Lashmutt Bros, for $219,344. In late 1939, the work was reported underway and scheduled for completion by June 30, 1940. This piece of sewer line probably connected to the earlier one around 21st and A streets (now under the skate park).
The combined $800,000 PWA improvements to the Northeast Boundary Sewer (about $15 million in 2019 dollars) was part of the New Deal’s large-scale effort to clean up the Capital during the 1930s and early 40s.
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.
The sewer cuts through the Bloomingdale neighborhood on its way to the Blue Plains sewage treatment plant at the southern tip of the district.
This was part 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 building the first sewage treatment plant at Blue Plains.
“$1,759,500 Granted District By Ickes For New Sewers,” Evening Star, August 22, 1933, p. A-1 (accessed February 2, 2020).
“Contract Is Awarded For Sewer Extension,” Evening Star, March 14, 1934, p. C-10 (accessed February 2, 2020).
“Relief Tops Problems of District During 1935,” Sunday Star, December 29, 1935, p. D-5 (accessed February 2, 2020).
“Sewer work begins at once,” Washington Post, September 1, 1933, p. 24
“District ready to begin work on sewer plan,” Washington Post, August 23, 1933, p. 9
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee - wpatoday.org on March 5, 2015.
Additional contributions by Richard A Walker.
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