From DC Water:
“After more than 10 years in the planning and approval process, DC Water is moving forward with the St. Elizabeths water storage tower. Construction is slated to begin in the coming weeks, and is scheduled for completion in 2018.
Some areas east of the Anacostia River have historically experienced low water pressure. DC Water planned years ago to improve the pressure with a new pumping station, water tower and transmission mains. Together, these elements would create a new water service zone (new pressure area) south of the Ft. Stanton area. While the pumping station was built in 2008, the water storage tower was delayed in approvals and permitting.
Commenting on today’s announcement, DC Water CEO and General Manager George S. Hawkins said, “The completion of this tower and water mains will bring the area much-needed water pressure and will improve fire protection and water pressure in homes, schools and businesses. This is important for the area east of the Anacostia River to support the families, agencies and businesses there.”
The tower can provide a small amount of emergency water storage. The pumps in the pumping station can also move water in between pressure zones in an emergency.
The new 170-foot-high storage tank at St. Elizabeths will store two million gallons of water. It is the first water tower DC Water has built in 71 years and will cost about $14 million. The water tower is located near the Saint Elizabeths Hospital National Historic Landmark (NHL), adjacent to the newly constructed hospital facility, east of Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., SE and north of Alabama Ave., SE. The new water tower will allow for demolition of the existing tower, which was originally built in the 1930s and is no longer adequate.
DC Water coordinated with nearly a dozen agencies for approvals or permits for the tower. These included the Federal Aviation Administration, District Department of Transportation, Historic Preservation Board, DC Mayor’s Office, and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Work will be performed on weekdays between the hours of 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Traffic impacts are expected to be light since the site is located near the hospital campus, though residents can expect truck traffic, some noise and lighting.
How water towers work
Gravity helps water towers create pressure because the water falling from a height causes (hydrostatic) pressure that transmits through the pipes and pressurizes the entire zone. Pumps are turned on to maintain water elevation in the tank to keep the system pressurized. Water can cycle through the towers several times per day.
For fighting fires, very high water volumes and flow rates are needed, and water towers can provide both. And in emergencies, the storage tank can still send water without electricity by simply emptying through gravity.”