Visited Alexandria Renew (1800 Limerick Street) yesterday morning, the city’s new wastewater treatment plant.
Nothing about this place hints at what takes place here. Its location is steps from new urban residential in the Carlyle neighborhood. Its offices are housed in a shiny new building with lots of glass. The four treatment tanks are hidden underneath a lighted playing field. A park is a part of the campus. Foul odors are nixed before they rise to the surface. If the word sewage is used on the premises, I sure didn’t see it.
I’ll let Patricia Sullivan’s article stand as an early primer and just say this place is worth a visit. Their outreach to educate folks is noteworthy.
In the colonial and antebellum days, people died from disease when water was contaminated from privies.
Even into the 20th-century, The Virginia Department of Health condemned the Alexandria Outbreak of typhoid fever. Dozens of cases were identified in the summer of 1914. Evidence pointed to the public water supply and unsanitary conditions in the central part of the city.
The city’s water facility, started in the 1850s by Benjamin Hallowell, was also criticized.
Interestingly enough, the offices on the north side of the Renew facility look almost straight out to the site of the former facility on Shuter Hill. On Renew's south side runs the waters of Cameron Run, the source of the city’s water back in the day.