Big Bags System flood barrier used to protect largest advanced wastewater treatment facility in the world.
The Big Bags System flood barrier protects against Hurricane Irene.
US utility company, DCWater, purchased the Big Bags System to protect their water treatment plant on the Potomac River in Washington DC.
The system has been deployed to protect the largest advanced wastewater facility in the world, the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The 153 acre site treats wastewater from two million customers in the District of Columbia and a few surrounding suburban jurisdictions.
Blue Plains has the capacity to treat 370 million gallons of wastewater per a day.
DC Water is undertaking engineering work along the Potomac River boundary of their site, where a new river wall is being constructed. The Big Bags System is being used as a temporary structure to prevent the river from flooding the site whilst the new existing wall is removed and
the new one constructed.
Without the use of System there was a risk that with heavy rains the river could flood the facility with the result that raw sewage could have polluted not only the river but also Chesapeake Bay, which is the largest estuary in the US. This risk was increased last week as Hurricane Irene made landfall on East Coast, which led to increased water levels on inland rivers. Thankfully with the Big Bags Defence System in place the Blue Plains Plant was protected and any risk of disaster was averted.
“Recognising the critical work that we do at Blue Plains, we took extra preventative measures to protect our facilities during severe weather,” said Aklile Tesfaye, Director, Department of Wastewater Treatment. “That included protective barriers in case the Potomac River rose above its banks.”
This is the second time that the Big Bags System has been used to protect a wastewater treatment plant in the US this year; back in January the Massachusetts utility company Springfield Water bought the system to protect their main facility from the flooding of the Connecticut River.
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