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Last week, I reported on the steady progress of plans to redevelop the McMillan Sand Filtration Site on North Capitol Street. After 25 years of battles, the latest plan has the support of key councilmembers and segments of the local public.

But it may have just hit a snag, in the form of water engineering.

Residents of neighboring Bloomingdale, where summer storms brought severe flooding, have expressed concern that development on the site could worsen their flooding problems. Now, Mike DeBonis reports, DC Water is contemplating whether McMillan may hold the solution to Bloomingdale’s problems. But not in a way that’s conducive to development:

D.C. Water General Manager George S. Hawkins said his agency is exploring whether the historic McMillan Sand Filtration Site north of Bloomingdale could be used as a place to store storm runoff during major storms, easing the aging and overloaded sewers downhill. …

The concept is that, during major storms, storm sewers upstream from Bloomingdale would dump runoff into McMillan’s filtration cells, where it would stay until the weather passes. Once downstream sewers were less taxed, the runoff would then be pumped though to be processed at Blue Plains.

But here’s the catch:

If D.C. Water and city officials decide they need to use McMillan’s underground filtration cells until the planned storage tunnel is complete in 2025, that stands to affect how redevelopment will proceed — perhaps it could be done in phases, or perhaps it would have to wait until the tunnel is fully in service. …

D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), who has both been intimately involved in the McMillan planning and has been crusading for storm-ravaged residents, said it’s “a little too early to get residents’ hopes up” about McMillan. But he said his first priority would be using the site for flood relief.

So full development of McMillan could have to wait at least another decade after all.

Photo by David Monack (Wikimedia Commons)