City Paper is not for tourists
Whenever it rains, it seems like everywhere you walk is a giant puddle. I heard that the reason is that some District sewer pipes are wooden. Any truth to that?
The sewer pipes aren’t wooden, but they are old. In fact, some have been around since Teddy Roosevelt was in the White House, according to D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) spokesperson Tamara Stevenson.
And although WASA has no records that the District ever had wooden sewer pipes, the area did have wooden water lines throughout the 19th century. Sewer pipes can be made of terra cotta, cast iron, concrete, or plastic.
Since many sewer lines were built around 1900—when the District’s population was a far less dense 278,000—rather than the 2000 population of 572,000, the lines are old and ill-equipped to accommodate present conditions. WASA replaces deteriorated and failing lines soon after officials discover the issue, Stevenson says.
However, the real need for the District, she says, is a long-range plan for District’s sewer system. As such, WASA recently began a $10 million assessment of the District’s sewer pipes.
Every Monday, the ‘Huh?’ Bub takes your questions. Got one?