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David Wooden

“Washington’s Sewer History: Ideological, Technological, and Environmental Evolution”

David Wooden

Department of Energy and Environment, Washington, DC, Mellon Fellow in Urban Landscape Studies, Fall 2015

David’s project explores the origins, development, and present-day workings of the District’s sewer system. In particular, he traces the various technologies recommended and implemented at critical junctures of the system’s history in order to analyze how evolving understandings of environment and public health were translated into physical constructs. The ultimate objective of the fellowship is to inform future infrastructure projects and policy decisions in the District: The District’s water utility (DC Water) is currently constructing a $2.6 billion tunnel to convey combined sewer overflows to the Blue Plains water treatment plant at the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. This mammoth grey infrastructure plan is the latest fix in a long line of sewer interventions in the District. An analysis of its place in a larger story of technological change and unintended consequences will ask whether we are repeating old mistakes or learning from them.

David Wooden is an Environmental Protection Specialist at the District’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), where he manages green infrastructure grant programs for public and private properties and designs stormwater retrofits for District school sites. He also assists with implementation and plan reviews for the Green Area Ratio landscape regulation. David received his master of landscape architecture from the University of Virginia. His graduate research focused on urban stormwater management and won the international 2010 Delta Cities design competition, as well as an Analysis and Planning award from the Virginia chapter of ASLA. Prior to joining the DOEE, David worked with Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, Ltd.

Related Content

Midday Dialogue, December 2, 2015: “Critical Work: Innovative Green Infrastructure Regulations Transforming DC” (with Meredith Unchurch and Rebecca Stack)

Midday Dialogue, November 21, 2019: “A Brief History of Water in the Ten Miles Square: 1790–1910

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