Construction has begun in earnest on the Potomac Yard trunk sewer.
The city issued the construction permit in March and drilling began at Fayette Street, Henry Street and First Street earlier this month. The project will continue until December.
“They are using a technique called micro tunneling,” explained Emily Baker, the city engineer. “We believe that this will be the least disruptive process that could have been selected.”
Crescent Resources, the owner of Potomac Yard, was required to begin construction of the trunk sewer before coming forward with a final development plan. The sewer must be functioning and must have been inspected by the city before certificates of occupancy for Potomac Greens will be issued.
“We have tried very hard to communicate with all of the residents in the affected areas,” said Robert Zeiller, the project director for infrastructure at Potomac Yard.” We have held public meetings and will be placing notices in doors as we work through the area.”
At any given time, over the next few months, there will be three to four different drilling sites. “We will have one area where we bring in the equipment to drill for the shaft and another where we do the tunneling,” Zeiller said. The drilling site will be about five feet by 100 feet. Once the shaft is completed and the dirt hauled away, the road can be repaired and the hole plated. The installation of the shaft will take about a week and the tunneling, about two weeks. The construction site will run from Fayette and Henry, south to Jefferson and into the wastewater treatment facility.
“This is, of course, important to the Potomac Yard project, but is also of benefit to the city,” Zeiller said. “We are building more capacity than we need so that we can use some of our excess capacity to divert excess flows from the Four Mile Run pump station. The sewer is designed to accept nine million gallons a day of sewage but can take up to 12 million gallons per day. Only one third of this capacity is required for use at Potomac Yard.
“This has really been a cooperative project among the city, Crescent Resources and has some federal funding,” Baker said. Congressman James Moran (D-8) obtained nearly $1 million in federal funding for the project.
ONE OF THE WAYS in which Crescent Resources has involved the community in the project is to engage the city’s public school children in developing artwork for the fencing that surrounds the various construction sites on the sewer project. “We bought art supplies for the students and asked them to create canvasses that can be placed on the fencing,” Zeiller said. “Every school is participating.”
To date, Zeiller has about 70 different canvasses from school children. Many have patriotic themes.
“It’s a great idea and is an innovative way for the kids to display their artwork,” said V. Rodger Digilio, a School Board member. “It also makes the construction sites very recognizable and more attractive.”
There is a web site that has a complete schedule for construction. There is also a toll free number: 1-800-283-9380. The web site is Potomac-yard.com.