DC Water Plans New Headquarters Atop Shit-Pumping Station
DC Water administrators could soon receive an office upgrade—albeit a small one—moving from alongside a shit-processing plant to atop a shit-pumping station.
The District's water and sewer authority has released a solicitation for firms interested in designing and building a new headquarters for DC Water. The new facility will be located above DC Water's O Street Pumping Station, which helps pump wastewater from around and beyond the city to the processing plant at Blue Plains, where the headquarters is currently located.
The Blue Plains facility is "packed to the gills," says Maureen Holman, DC Water's program manager for sustainability, with many employees working out of trailers. Located at the very southern tip of the city, it's hard for most D.C. residents (and DC Water employees) to access. DC Water administrators will move to the new headquarters, while the engineers will remain at Blue Plains. DC Water also leases two facilities—a customer service center near the Navy Yard and a billing office near Union Station—whose workers and functions would get folded into the new headquarters, potentially saving money in the long run.
The new headquarters, between the Anacostia River, 1st Street SE, and N Place SE, will have five stories of offices perched above the pumping station. The offices will be supported by columns; there may or may not be a small gap between them and the pumping station. When the structure is complete, it will be the same height as the adjacent The Yards development that's underway, just over 100 feet. The pumping station will remain operational, and DC Water's main, historic pumping station next door will be unaltered.
"The idea is to consolidate," says Holman, "and by consolidating we also are going to be getting out of two existing spaces that we currently lease." Holman expects the cost savings from the consolidation to offset the debt service cost of the project.
DC Water hopes for the new building to be LEED platinum. It could include a museum-type function that would allow visitors to peer down at the pumps, although the pumping station will remain sealed off.
Firms interested in designing and building the new headquarters are invited to attend a DC Water briefing tomorrow and must submit a response by May 14. At that point, DC Water will review the responses and invite a short list of no more than four firms to respond to a more detailed request for proposals.
This post initially stated that the headquarters will be located between N Street SE and the Anacostia River. While that's technically true, it's more specific to say that it's between N Place SE and the river.
Image via Google Maps