Nation's Capital Faces Critical Water Problems

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1975, Vol. 45, Issue 6, Pg. 58-61

Document Type: Feature article


Untroubled by any major impoundments and much troubled by polution in its tidal reaches, the Potomac River continues to flow to the sea, while an increasing population depends on this varying flow as its principal, and in most cases only source of potable water. Endless studies by numerous federal, state, local and private organizations have variously recommended as many as 600 dams and as few as six; Congress has finally approved preliminary engineering on two, while a third—on a branch of the river—is actually under construction, principally as a flood control measure. Only one of the many studies has recommended no dams — but treatment of the huge reservoir of fresh-to-brackish water in the estuary section fronting Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, the area's biggest treatment plant (Blue Plains) is being enlarged, and authorities in Montgomery County, Md., and Fairfax County, Va., have either started construction or are in design stages on major Advanced Wastewater Treatment plants to ease the pollution problem.

Subject Headings: Assets | Water management | Tides | Wastewater treatment plants | Water flow | River flow | Streamflow | Seas and oceans | Water storage | Washington | North America | United States | Potomac River

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