Earlier today, Prince of Petworth was befuddled with all the construction work being done at the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street NW in Woodley Park:

This has been a grass plot between the bridge to Dupont Circle and the on ramp to Rock Creek Parkway for as long as I can remember. Do you think a building could be going up here?

The short answer: No. No building is going up on the National Park Service land between the Omni Shoreham Hotel and the William Howard Taft Bridge.

There is, however, a big storm sewer separation project underway in the neighborhoods bordering Rock Creek. Says D.C. Water:

The Rock Creek Sewer Separation project is one of the first projects included in the DC Water and Sewer Authority’s (DC Water) Long Term Control Plan (LTCP). The LTCP is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lessen pollution from combined sewer overflows (CSOs). DC Water is required to separate the single combined sewers into separate sanitary and storm sewers for the drainage basins serving four specific overflow locations.

As Washington City Paper detailed in a 2005 cover story, the District has had an ugly history with its combined sewage system:

“Combined” means that a single pipe carries both storm water (including anything washing off the street, such as rain, leaking auto fuel, lost Frisbees, and dog excrement) and liquid sewage (including all waste produced by households, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses) to wherever they are going.

During periods of intense rain, the current system can’t handle all the liquid volume and it ends up being flushed into local waterways like Rock Creek. After the project is complete, the separated sewage systems should flush all the bad stuff to the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant.

So, Prince of Petworth readers, now you know. And knowing is, of course, half the battle.