Aggregates Industries Quarry Could Protect D.C. Water Supply

WTOP in Washington, D.C., is reporting that local water officials are looking into the possibility of utilizing Aggregates Industries’ Travilah Quarry in Rockville, Md., to provide water storage for the local D.C., Maryland and Virginia water utilities in the event that water from the Potomac River would become unavailable or undrinkable.

The Washington Aqueduct would only have a 24- to 48-hour water supply available if the Potomac were ever to suffer a major contamination event, according to general manager Tom Jacobus. “It could happen very innocently, by accident, or worse, intentionally,” he said. “It could be very damaging to us for a period of time.”

The Potomac River is the sole water supply for the District of Columbia, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church and the primary water supply for two other local water utilities.

“If it were filled with water today, right now it would have about 8 billion gal. of water,” said Jacobus. “You could produce water for about 14 days, and we believe that’s a reasonable amount of time that whatever made the river unavailable to us could be cleaned up, and we could get back to the river.”

The 330-acre quarry was started in 1955. It’s current maximum depth is 450 ft. It has an expected lifespan of approximately 60 more years.

“All quarries have a finite life span,” said Richard Freedman, director of land and environment for the Mid-Atlantic region for Aggregate Industries. Freedman said the quarry company has allowed water utility consultants to conduct scientific testing on its property. Jacobus and Freedman said it was premature to discuss how the water utilities might use or purchase the Travilah Quarry.

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