WSSC Clean Water Connection Project Facts 4/2/05
By Bill Zwack on Saul Road, firstname.lastname@example.org
WSSC intends to complete its water supply main from its Potomac Water Filtration Plant to Prince Georges County. This entails running a 7-foot diameter pipe either under or around Parkwood and greater Kensington. This project will have significant impact on our community and must be handled judiciously. I have compiled some facts on the proposed project below, but every resident should examine http://www.wsscwater.com/projects/bicountywater/index.html,
especially the pipeline alignment maps.
- WSSC is currently considering nine "alignments" for the pipeline. The pipe will either be tunneled 150 to 300 feet below ground, “cut and covered” 15 feet below ground, or a combination of the two. The “cut and cover” method can clear cut a swath of land 35 to 75 feet wide (up to 3 to 4 times as wide as Beach Drive). The tunnel method will require three 3-acre sites clear cut at each end of the pipe and somewhere in the middle for the vertical shafts.
- Alignment studies are currently underway and will continue through the summer. Actual construction will begin in 2007 and end in 2010
- The "cut and cover" alignments may cost as little as $40M, while the tunneling alignments may cost as much as $175M
- The potential alignments are as far north as the CSX train tracks in Kensington and as far south as Rock Creek Park along I-495. Routes in between include tunneling under Tuckerman Lane and then either heading northward along Beach Drive or going under Saul Road
- The two "cut and cover" alignments along Beach drive or Rock Creek Park (between 355 and Stoneybrook Drive) will potentially eliminate the use of Rock Creek parkway for a year and will change the face of the park for many years to come. However, environmental stewardship perks can be negotiated with the WSSC (e.g., potentially Beltway sound barriers, raising the level of the park and path to permit better storm drainage, more benches and picnic tables, new playground equipment, cleaned up creek, etc.).
- Besides possibly shaking our homes, the tunneling alignments may result in three acres of Rock Creek Park being clear cut. This center shaft may also become the location where the drills are dropped and dirt/rock is removed. This would mean noise and dirt (potentially 24-hours a day) and dump truck traffic on Beach Drive
Along with other in the Kensington area, I have joined the 30-person WSSC Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for this project. The CAC is meeting April 5th with WSSC for the first time. The committee will meet one additional time and will review the alignment studies as they are complete this summer. Later this spring, WSSC will give a presentation to Kensington area residents. We will inform you of this meeting through the ListServ. I welcome you comments via email at my address above.