July 2, 2014

The Honorable Kenyan R. McDuffie
Office of Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Ward 5
Chairman Pro Tempore
Committee on Government Operations
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 506
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Councilmember McDuffie;

You recently received an e-mail from a citizen in the Bloomingdale neighborhood that contains
misinformation and a number of inaccurate statements regarding the First Street Tunnel Project. Please
consider DC Water’s responses to items listed in that e-mail:
 DC Water is not making major changes to the First Street Tunnel project. By the nature of a
design-build construction project, details regarding the means and methods of construction are
developed by the design-build contractor. Once developed, details are submitted to DC Water for
review and approval. The contractor’s refinements to the work in Adams and Flagler are
consistent with the concepts presented to the neighborhood during the block meetings in the
Spring/Summer of 2013 and later in January 2014. We continue to meet with the neighborhood
monthly where the contractor’s updated plans and schedule are presented. As additional details
for the work at Adams and Flagler are approved, we will continue to share them with the
 The footprint of the Construction Staging Area (CSA) at Adams and Flagler has not changed and
is not proposed to change. The extents of the construction staging area are a contract requirement
defined based on stakeholder input during the design phase.
 The traffic control plan associated with Adams Street NW originally approved by DDOT prior to
awarding the First Street Tunnel contract was modified by DDOT when the contractor submitted
the plan for permitting. The contractor will implement the traffic control plan with the changes
that DDOT requested and approved. Second Street NW is now open to traffic, which allows for
implementation of a safer plan along Adams Street NW. DC Water has not withheld the traffic
control plan from the neighborhood; it was discussed at a recent tunnel forum meeting. The work
at Adams and Flagler CSA will begin the week of August 4th.
 The First Street Tunnel design-build contractor is in the process of finalizing a proposal for
replacing a small portion of a 30-inch diameter water line in the intersection of Adams and
Flagler. The water line in question is a regional service line and therefore local service
Councilmember McDuffie
July 1, 2014
Page 2 of 2

disruptions are not anticipated as a result of this work. DC Water has not received the final plan
but has reviewed the concept in detail with the contractor. The replacement of this pipe is in the
best interest of the neighborhood and the project because of its proximity to the support of
excavation associated with the drop shaft. During design, DC Water anticipated that the
contractor would need to protect, relocate or replace the 30-inch pipe. The contractor plans to
replace the pipe in its current location. The final design associated with this replacement is
currently being completed by the contractor and will be shared with the neighborhood after it has
been reviewed and approved.
 The existing Flagler Place Trunk Sewer, constructed in the 1890’s, is undersized and therefore
cannot convey combined sewer flows generated by intense storm events. As a result, the pipe
becomes pressurized and surcharges, causing flooding of basements and the existing ground
surface within the neighborhood. In order to mitigate this flooding, DC Water has designed a
series of diversion chambers to relieve the pipe and direct the flow to the First Street Tunnel.
 The diversion chamber design and location is the result of long-term planning, data collection
and modeling that began in 1999. Based on data collection and modeling, a preliminary design of
the structure was completed in 2009 as part of DC Water’s Facility Plan for the Anacostia River
Projects. The Facility Plan located a diversion chamber along Adams Street NW, just west of
Flagler Place intersection. Details of the Facility Plan design were further progressed as a result
of the Mayor’s Task Force efforts in December 2012, which cited a diversion chamber in the
same location in order to mitigate flooding throughout the neighborhood. As utility information
was surveyed and collected for the final design of the structure, DC Water determined that a
diversion chamber on Adams Street NW would have significant impacts on existing utility
services for the community and therefore shifted the structure to Flagler Place NW, where utility
conflicts were minimal. The proposed location and reasons for citing the diversion chamber in its
proposed location were fully discussed with the community as part of the Environmental
Assessment and subsequent block meetings in the Spring/Summer of 2013. The plan as discussed
with the community remains the same.
 The next DC Water/ First Street Tunnel Community Forum meeting will be Thursday, July 31st
at 7:00 p.m. at St. George’s Episcopal Church; 160 U Street NW. Construction activity at Adams
& Flagler begins the week of July 28, 2014.


John D. Kennedy
Program Manager, First Street Tunnel Construction
DC Clean Rivers Project

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