Latest News

Fossil Fuels Won’t Be Allowed in New DC Buildings

Date: September, 2022

Mayor Muriel Bowser has taken a step to limit the use of fossil fuels in new construction within the District. The Clean Energy DC Building Code Amendment Act of 2022 explicitly restricts the use of emissions-generating energy, except as back-up generation sources in public health and safety buildings. It also mandates a minimum of 5% of the total building energy consumption be met by on-site renewable generation.

The law’s restriction on fossil fuels would include the use of gas-powered stoves, meaning restaurants and residents would have to use electric induction instead of cooking over an open flame, according to JDSUPRA.

DC has taken other steps toward sustainability under the Climate Commitment Amendment Act, which ends DC government purchases of fossil-fuel-powered equipment to heat buildings by 2025, directs the DC government to purchase only zero-emissions vehicles beginning in 2026, and adopts s a district-wide carbon neutrality target of 2045.


Tunnel Project Could Be Answer to Sewage Flooding

Date: September, 2022

DC’s aging, undersized sewer infrastructure sometimes causes flooding, as it did in early August. The Northeast Boundary Tunnel Project (NEBT) may be a key to fixing it.

The tunnel will connect with the existing sewer system, significantly mitigating sewer flooding while improving the water quality of the Anacostia River. The NEBT is the largest component of the Clean Rivers Project and will start just south of RFK Stadium and extend north to Rhode Island Avenue and west to R Street NW.

Completion of the NEBT in 2023 will fulfill new facility construction on the Anacostia River required by DC Water’s Consent Decree. Once the NEBT is connected to the other Clean Rivers tunnels, combined sewer overflows to the Anacostia River will be reduced by 98%.


Can DC’s 11th Street Bridge Park Lift Up a Neighborhood?

Date: September, 2022

For the last decade, Scott Kratz has been working to build a new kind of amenity for Washington, DC: a park that’s also a bridge. The proposal would see a span for pedestrians and cyclists erected over the Anacostia River on the pier supports from a previous bridge that was demolished, according to a Bloomberg article.

Kratz and his organization, Building Bridges Across the River, are trying to ensure that this effort doesn’t end up hurting the communities it will link, especially the historically disenfranchised neighborhoods of Anacostia, Fairlawn. and Barry Farm east of the river. That’s because the 11th Street Bridge Park — a dramatic cross-section of overlapping decks that form a wide X over the river, designed by the firms OMA and OLIN — looks a lot like the kind of charismatic placemaking amenity associated with a sudden spike in brunch reservations and moving-truck rentals.

Its builders expect 800,000 to 1.2 million visitors per year after the park opens, which would put it in a league with New York City’s buzzy Little Island, the Thomas Heatherwick-designed folly on concrete tulip piers off Manhattan’s West Side that debuted in summer 2021. Read more.

FEMA Funds Resiliency Projects in the District

Date: August 17, 2022

The District of Columbia has secured $20 million in new funding from FEMA to continue its path towards a climate resilient future. These federal funds will support the District’s effort to endure rising sea levels and more severe natural hazards. The District has seen increased rainfall and more frequent storms in recent years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecasted above-average hurricane activity along the east coast for several years running.

“For our city to endure future climate risk, we need to take bold action today,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser in a statement. “As we continue positioning DC to thrive in the face of a changing climate, this funding will support our ongoing efforts to build a more sustainable and resilient DC.”

The funding was provided through the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, which helps communities fund mitigation actions to combat climate change and protect communities that are vulnerable to disaster.

The DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency submitted several projects for consideration, of which five were selected:

  • Assessments of homes at-risk for flooding;
  • DC Kenilworth Park/Watts Branch Environmental Study;
  • Flood protection planning for Buzzard Point and nearby transportation infrastructure;
  • Creating a framework for city recreation centers to serve as resilience hubs; and
  • Construction of a floodwall around the Blue Plains water treatment plant.

Pedestrian, Bike and Transit Projects Get Federal Boost

Date: August 17, 2022

A proposed bicycle and pedestrian crossing that would create a walkable connection from Northern Virginia’s growing Crystal City neighborhood to the District’s Southwest Waterfront area is getting a $20 million federal grant, The Washington Post reports.

In Southeast Washington, a long-planned 3.8-mile trail off South Capitol Street is getting $10 million, just under half the project’s budget. Across the Maryland line, Prince George’s County is securing $20.5 million to enhance bus connection, add sidewalks and bike lanes, and improve access to the New Carrollton station.

The projects are among five in the greater Washington region receiving nearly $60 million in federal funding under the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. The DC-area projects are among 166 nationwide that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced would get funding under RAISE, which is receiving an infusion of $7.5 billion over five years from last year’s infrastructure law.

DC Commission Encourages Utilities to Pursue Federal Infrastructure Funding

Date: July 18, 2022

The DC Public Service Commission opened a proceeding (Formal Case No. 1172) to identify available funding sources for Pepco and the Washington Gas Light Company (WGL) under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (Bipartisan Infrastructure Law), according to a news release.

Congress passed the law to invest billions of dollars in federal funds for local initiatives that support grid resiliency and reliability, electric generation and transmission, access to clean water, improved cybersecurity, and strategic deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

To ensure transparency as Pepco and WGL pursue federal grant funds, the commission has directed the utilities to file monthly reports with the commission beginning August 31 on applications submitted for funds and establish a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Regulatory Asset to track related costs. These actions will help the District achieve its clean energy commitments.

Interested persons can file written comments in Formal Case No. 1172 identifying programs funded under the law that Pepco and WGL can pursue.


DC Area Now Home to Nation’s Top 5 Defense, Aerospace Companies

Date: July 18, 2022

Recently, Raytheon Technologies Corp. announced it was moving its headquarters to Arlington, Virginia, less than a month after Boeing relocated to the DC suburb. This makes the DMV home to the nation’s top five aerospace and defense contractors, according to The Business Journals.

The other industry giants in the area include Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, General Dynamics in Reston, and Northrup Grumman in Falls Church. Available tech and engineering talent in the region is a major draw for the companies.

Raytheon’s announcement about its move from outside of Boston to the DC metro area stated, “The location increases agility in supporting US government and commercial aerospace customers and serves to reinforce partnerships that will progress innovative technologies to advance the industry. Washington, DC, serves as a convenient travel hub for the company’s global customers and employees.”


Metro’s Blue and Yellow Line Will Be Affected by Coming Upgrades

Date: July 18, 2022

This fall, two Metro lines will be impacted as WMATA works to open a new station and repair a bridge between the Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations, the Washington Post reports.

The work to be done includes connecting the new Potomac Yard station to the system, as well as yellow line tunnel and bridge repairs. The construction will take eight months and will cause line closures within the transportation system. Metro says it will offer alternative methods of transport, including free shuttle buses.

Green Bank Adding Sustainability Through Green Projects in the District

Date: June 14, 2022

The DC Green Bank has now committed more than $12 million to community and residential solar projects serving low-to-moderate income residents in the District of Columbia. Launched in 2018, the DC Green Bank reached this milestone with two recent loan closings. In addition to energy savings, the two deals will provide hundreds of District residents construction job opportunities.

“By bringing together DC Green Bank and [the Department Of Energy and Environment’s] Solar for All program, we’re lowering electric bills, reducing pollution, and creating jobs for DC residents,” Bowser said in a release.

The first deal, $7 million agreement with PosiGen, will provide solar energy to low-to-moderate income residents across approximately 320 residential projects. A deal of more than $530,000 with Uprise Electric Company will deliver funds for community solar serving 15 residential projects under Solar for All.

The solar installations are expected to create hundreds of clean economy jobs in the construction phase. They will also generate more than 3,600 MWh of renewable energy annually, while avoiding more than 2,500 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to an average passenger vehicle driving more than 6 million miles annually.

Under the Uprise deal, more than a dozen LMI District families in the initial 15 projects will see their electricity bills cut by 50%. The deal is expected to create up to 13 clean economy jobs, generate more than 90 MWh of renewable energy, and avoid approximately 64 tons of CO2 equivalent annually – which is equivalent to an average passenger vehicle driving more than 160,000 miles.


Policy Center to Focus on Industrial, Technological Strategy

Date: June 14, 2022

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a DC-based think tank focused on science and tech policy, has opened a new policy center focused on industrial strategy policy, the Hamilton Center on Industrial Strategy.

The policy center will focus on pushing an approach to United States economic policy that “focuses squarely on bolstering America’s competitive position in advanced technologies and industries that constitute the most strategically important sectors of the economy,” according to ITIF.

The nation’s competitive position in advanced technology sectors, like semiconductors and emerging tech research, is at the heart of both the USICA/America COMPETES legislation going through the conferencing process in Congress and the Hamilton Center’s first piece of research.

Boeing Moving HQ to DC Metro Area

Date: May 16, 2022

Aerospace giant Boeing announced it will move its headquarters to the “National Landing” area in Arlington, expanding the tech corridor begun by Amazon’s placement of its second headquarters there, the Washington Post reports. Boeing’s headquarters are currently in Chicago.

Additionally, Virginia Polytechnic Institute is building an engineering graduate school at the National Landing. The 3.5-acre facility is being funded by $545 million from the Commonwealth of Virginia, in addition to $50 million from Boeing. These moves and other efforts from local officials are contributing to the DC area’s reputation as a bona fide innovation district.


Curbside Composting in the Works for the District

Date: May 16, 2022

The DC Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment has proposed allocating more than $4.4 million to the DC Department of Public Works to create a curbside composting pilot program for 10,000 households, WUSA-9 reports.

“Food waste comprises as much as 30% of the city’s residential waste and, when landfilled, produces large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, which contributes greatly to climate change,” said DC DPW Interim Director Michael Carter.

A District-wide composting program would help Mayor Muriel Bowser achieve her zero waste goals by allowing 30,000 tons of organic waste to be composted or anaerobically digested each year, the article said. The recommendation will go into a unified budget proposal, which will then be reviewed and approved by the Council.


Metro Proposes Bringing Back Suspended Rail Cars

Date: April 14, 2022

In response to its highest ridership levels of the pandemic, Metro has introduced a plan to gradually ease a train shortage by adding rail cars throughout the summer, according to The Washington Post. The agency proposes starting to service its suspended rail cars in April, with the ultimate goal of returning all of its 7000-series rail cars into service. They have been out of commission since a Blue Line train derailed in October.


Complaint Issued Against PEPCO for Mishandling of Solar Panel Project

Date: April 14, 2022

The DC Attorney General and the Office of the People’s Counsel have filed a complaint against PEPCO for systematically mishandling a solar panel project that was supposed to lower customer bills by 50% over 10 years while helping to fight climate change. Instead, the complaint says, PEPCO failed to provide promised discounts on energy bills, harming thousands of low-income residents who are part of the Solar for All program, WUSA 9 reports.

Additionally, the complaint said, PEPCO failed to pay the Department of Energy and Environment and other owners of community solar generation facilities, undercounted solar energy that is being generated by unlawfully installing its own electrical meters, and undermined the District’s ability to reach its climate goals.

St. Elizabeth's Hospital Facility Faces Delays

Date: March 16, 2022

A planned microgrid at the St. Elizabeth's hospital site would power the facility and save the District money. Meanwhile, in response to delays, some environmentalists claim DC politicians are holding up the project to placate PEPCO, on the grounds that microgrids lead to less overall energy youth. The microgrid's construction could save between $5 million and $10 million in reduced energy costs, as well as capital construction savings between $8 million and $12 million, the Washington City Paper reports.

Mayor Muriel Bowser's "Resilient D.C." plan calls for the microgrid to be up and running on the campus by 2023. A $20 million FEMA grant is earmarked to fund the project. PEPCO said in a statement it is supportive of the microgrid.


Unique Industrial Design in the District to Receive Special Recognition

Date: March 16, 2022

Efforts are underway to give historic status to the large power plant at Buzzard Point in Southeast DC. The structure built in 1933 is an example of modern industrial design. The move would make the development of green space and other uses possible, thus improving the appeal of the neighborhood, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The area, formerly an industrial outpost, has become an urban hotspot after revitalization efforts. The Point overlooks the confluence of the Anacostia River, the Potomac River, and the Washington Channel.


Career Center

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

Featured Jobs
WMATA – General Manager & CEO

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Specialist

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

DC Futures Program Helps Pay Tuition for Students Pursuing Tech Degrees

Date: February 16, 2022

DC Futures, a $12 million federally funded initiative, will provide some tuition assistance to DC residents studying specific "high-demand" fields in college, including engineering and information technology.

The program will benefit low-to-moderate-income residents who have lived in the District for at least 12 months. They will receive $8,000 per year if they attend one of four eligible colleges in the DC area, the dcist reports.

The program also covers professional coaching and up to $1,500 in emergency funds to cover unexpected expenses. Other fields deemed high-demand that are eligible for the program are education and health science. Find out more from the program handbook.


DC Beats All 50 States in Green Building

Date: February 16, 2022

Based on the US Green Building Council's annual rankings of states' performance in environmentally-friendly building, DC would be No. 1 if it were a state. When considering certified gross square footage of LEED-certified buildings, DC leads the nation in green building. The District comes in at 29.46 square feet per capita, more than nine times as much as the top-rated state, Illinois, according to an article on wtop.com.

"Despite DC not appearing in the official Top 10 list because of its status as a federal territory, it consistently leads the nation in LEED-certified square footage per capita, and has demonstrated strong leadership in its adoption of LEED," the Green Building Council said. DC has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.


NSPE Career Center

Date: February 16, 2022

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Jobs
Resident Engineer (Construction Management)

Project Manager - Quality

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

NSPE Recommends PE for DC Public Service Commission

Date: January 19, 2022

NSPE joined the DC Society of Professional Engineers in recommending that Mayor Muriel Bowser nominate Daniel Hanlon, P.E., F.NSPE, to fill the current vacancy on the DC Public Service Commission.

Hanlon would bring to the position over 40 years of engineering experience, including knowledge and expertise in utility operations, capital development and improvements. He would also bring to the commission a commitment to the principles of the professional engineer.

NSPE and the DC Society hope Mayor Bowser will consider their recommendation and nominate Hanlon to serve as a commissioner on the DC PSC.


Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers Banned in DC to Prevent Air, Noise Pollution

Date: January 19, 2022

Gas-powered leaf blowers have been banned in DC to cut down on noise and air pollution in the city. Over 100 US cities have banned the devices in recent years, according to The Guardian.

A 2011 study found that using a gas-powered leaf blower for just a half an hour emits the same amount of hydrocarbons as driving a pickup truck from Texas to Alaska. Also, landscaping workers experience respiratory problems from long-term use of the equipment. Switching to electric leaf blowers can improve their health. DC residents are able to report the use of gas-powered leaf blowers online if they see the law being broken.


Biden's Infrastructure Plan Allocates Millions for Bridge Repairs in DC

Date: January 19, 2022

Under President Biden's infrastructure plan that infuses $26.5 billion into bridge repair across the US, the District of Columbia will receive $225 million. The funds will come over five years via the Federal Highway Administration. Aside from making much-needed repairs, a major goal of the funding is to help bridges withstand the effects of climate change by modernizing them, FHWA Administrator Stephanie Pollack said.


NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Job
Director, Program Implementation

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

Wastewater Cleanup Plan Will Protect DC's Rivers by 2030

Date: December 15, 2021

The ongoing problem in the DC area of combined sewer overflows causing raw sewage to pour into the Anacostia River, the Potomac River, and Rock Creek is on its way to being solved, eos.org reports.

The District's outdated sewer system dates to the 19th century. Like hundreds of other communities in the US, it has not been in compliance with the Clean Water Act and has a longstanding swimming ban in its waterways. But the local government is taking mitigating steps through the $2.7 billion Clean Rivers Project. Managers of the plan forecast the Anacostia will be cleaned up by 2023 and the Potomac by 2030. The project is a massive infrastructure and support program designed to capture and clean wastewater during rainfalls before it reaches waterways.


DC Among Few Metro Areas to Experience Construction Jobs Growth

Date: December 15, 2021

Only the District of Columbia and 16 states added construction jobs since just before the pandemic began, according to new employment data as reported by Building Design & Construction. The District experienced 1.9% employment growth in the construction industry with the addition of 300 jobs, and ranked 9th in the nation.

Utah added the most jobs (8,200) since February 2020 with 7.2% growth, followed by North Carolina and Washington State.


Infrastructure Act Will Fund Extensive Road and Bridge Repairs, Transportation Upgrades

Date: December 15, 2021

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will pay to repair and rebuild roads and bridges in the District of Columbia with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.

There are eight bridges and over 402 miles of highway in poor condition in the District, according to the US Department of Transportation. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 2% in the DC, and on average, each driver pays $1,100 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. DC is expected to receive approximately $1.3 billion over five years in federal highway formula funding for highways and bridges.

In addition, the District will receive about $1.6 billion over five years to improve public transportation options. Funding will also cover modernization of freight rail, increased EV charging options, airport improvements, and other infrastructure updates.


NSPE Career Center

Date: December 15, 2021

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Jobs
Lead Engineer, Electro-Mechanical Emphasis

Transportation Planning and Safety Director

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

NSPE-DC, NSPE Call for PE to Head Commission

Date: November 17, 2021

NSPE-DC and NSPE submitted a letter to District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, recommending that she appoint a licensed professional engineer to serve on DC's Public Service Commission.

The seat will open up following the confirmation of current PSC Chair Willie Phillips Jr., to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The letter points to the mission of the Public Service Commission and its commitment to serving the public interest as reasons the position will benefit from a PE.

NSPE-DC President Anthony Ndum, P.E., and NSPE President Rick Guerra, P.E., F.NSPE, write that "this emphasis on serving the public interest is much the same as the professional engineer's ethical obligation to strive, at all times, to serve the public interest." There is no one better suited than a PE to make considerations for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare as part of the DC Public Service Commission.

Read the full letter to Mayor Bowser.


What Continued Climate Change Would Look Like in DC

Date: November 17, 2021

The nonprofit Climate Central created an image of what Washington, D.C., could look like if the world's average temperature raises 3 degrees, DCist reports. The model showed the Lincoln Memorial being on an island, water covering much of the Pentagon parking lots, and the George Washington Parkway underwater, among other examples.

To avoid this, the study said, the world would have to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.


Mayor Bowser Partnership Connects DC Residents to Solar Energy, Infrastructure Jobs

Date: November 17, 2021

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is partnering with the Office of Latino Affairs and the Department of Energy and Environment to help more residents participate in the Solar for All and Solar Works DC programs. These efforts comprise education and outreach, as well as assistance with filling out application forms.

"These programs not only move DC closer to our climate and clean energy goals, they give DC residents a fair shot," Bowser said. "...we encourage any resident who is interested in saving on their electric bills to apply."

The Solar for All program plays a critical role in the District's transition to clean energy by providing access to the benefits of solar power to low- to moderate-income households. Solar Works DC provides District residents with paid career training, empowering them to pursue a job in the high-demand infrastructure industry.

Find out more.


NSPE Career Center

Date: November 17, 2021

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Job
Sr. Railway Design Engineer

Field Inspector

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

NSPE-DC, NSPE Call for PE to Head Commission

Date: October 28, 2021

NSPE and NSPE-DC submitted a letter to District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, recommending that she appoint a licensed professional engineer to serve on DC’s Public Service Commission. The seat will open up following the confirmation of current PSC Chair Willie Phillips Jr., to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The letter points to the mission of the Public Service Commission and its commitment to serving the public interest as reasons the position will benefit from a PE. NSPE President Rick Guerra, P.E., F.NSPE, and NSPE-DC President Anthony Ndum, P.E., write that “this emphasis on serving the public interest is much the same as the professional engineer’s ethical obligation to strive, at all times, to serve the public interest.” There is no one better suited than a PE to make considerations for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare as part of the DC Public Service Commission.

Read the full letter to Mayor Bowser.


NSPE-DC Advocates for PE Appointment to DC Public Service Commission

Date: October 20, 2021

NSPE-DC is working with NSPE government relations staff to craft a letter to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser recommending she appoint a professional licensed engineer to the DC Public Service Commission. The seat will open up following the confirmation of current PSC Chair Willie L. Phillips, Jr. to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


Intelligent Energy Storage System Helps DC School and Low-Income Area

Date: October 20, 2021

A new energy storage system has been installed at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School in Northeast Washington. Through a partnership with the Department of Energy and Environment, solar panels were installed on the roof and property of the school to help defray its energy costs.

Ludlow-Taylor installed a 200-kilowatt solar array in late 2019 to meet its energy needs and sell an excess of 30kW back to Pepco, the local electric utility company. But when the pandemic forced the school into remote learning, the excess solar being produced totaled 90 kW – much more than was stipulated by the net metering agreement with Pepco. The new battery system solves this problem by facilitating long-term energy storage and simple, decentralized control for the school, helping decrease costs and improve reliability.

According to the Department of Energy, the national average energy burden for low-income households is three times higher than for non-low-income households.


NSPE Career Center

Date: October 20, 2021

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Jobs
Structural Engineer

2022 Science Policy Fellowship

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

NSPE-DC Advocates for PE Appointment to DC Public Service Commission

Date: September 30, 2021

NSPE-DC is working with NSPE government relations staff to craft a letter to District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, recommending that she appoint a PE to the DC Public Service Commission. The seat will open up following the confirmation of current PSC Chair Willie Phillips Jr. to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


Construction on the Decline in 2021

Date: September 10, 2021

Washington, D.C., is one of only four metro areas in the country to have a decline in new construction projects started in the first half of 2021, the Washington Business Journal reports. The others were Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix. Overall, Washington saw a decline of 7% from the first six months of 2020, and a 41% decline from the first half of 2019.

Major factors in the decrease are the pandemic, an oversupply of office space in the District, the fact that D.C. has a less dense population center than cities like New York and Dallas, and the tendency of companies like Amazon and Home Depot to build warehouses in cheaper suburban areas surrounding the District.

Housing construction in the area has picked up, with a focus on multifamily housing within D.C. and single-family homes in Maryland and Virginia suburbs.


Green Water Infrastructure in DC Declared a Success

Date: September 10, 2021

The District’s first green infrastructure pilot project, part of a green-gray stormwater management plan, was successful, DC Water announced in September. This marks a significant step forward in DC’s adoption of green infrastructure. The project was financed by an environmental impact bond and involved the installation of 25 acres of bioretention in planter strips and curb extensions, permeable pavement on streets and alleys, and two green infrastructure parks in the Rock Creek sewershed in Wards 4 and 5.

The pilot project was one component of the $2.7 billion stormwater management plan known as the Clean Rivers Project. The effort helped address overflow of raw sewage mixed with rainwater from heavy storms that is dumped into Piney Branch, which flows into Rock Creek north of the National Zoo and many neighborhoods. The green infrastructure enabled DC Water to cut back spending on enormous gray water tunnels built beneath the city.


Anti-Licensing Forces Miss the Point

Date: September 10, 2021

Extreme anti-licensing bills have popped up in numerous states and are posing a threat to the rigorous and established professional standards followed by PEs, architects, and others who design and construct the built environment, according to an op-ed in The Hill.

Lawmakers calling for these extreme measures don’t differentiate between barbers and manicurists, for example, and PEs and architects, say Tom Smith, executive director of ASCE, and Michael Armstrong, CEO of NCARB. “In their absolutist free-market view, reflected in the language of their model legislation, a visit to a barbershop or beauty salon should be treated the same as designing a bridge or water treatment plant.”

The legislative proposals range from measures that would eliminate licensing entirely to so-called “Universal Licensing” bills that would require states to accept licenses from any state regardless of whether the out-of-state license had the same level of qualifications behind it.

Self-Driving Lyft Cars Coming to D.C. in 2022

Date: August 11, 2021

Ford Motor Company and Argo AI are working together to launch a fleet of autonomous vehicles on the Lyft network in Washington, D.C., next year, Forbes.com reports. Lyft customers will be able to select a self-driving vehicle when requesting a pickup. Ford has been testing self-driving vehicles in Miami, Washington, D.C., and Detroit for several years. Launches are also planned in Miami later this year and in Detroit in 2022.

Argo is using anonymized data from Lyft to determine community needs for AVs in order to build a viable business. Also, sensor pods have been installed in intersections to test their ability to warn the vehicles of oncoming traffic or pedestrians.

With AV technology rapidly advancing, one question is often raised: Should autonomous cars make life-or-death decisions? A Washington Post article, however presents a different perspective. Advocates say the goal of machine learning should be getting to the point where we’re asking if it’s ethical to let people drive.


Washington a Top Region for New Tech Jobs

Date: August 11, 2021

The Washington, D.C., metro area ranks second in the amount of new tech jobs in American cities, after only New York City, according to the Computing Technology Industry Association’s Tech Jobs Report. With 15,663 new tech jobs listed in June, the nation’s capital is poised for tremendous growth in the area in part due to Amazon, which is building expansive new headquarters in Arlington.

Approximately 44% of jobs within the tech sector are technology occupations, including systems engineers, software developers, and IT support specialists, the report said.


DC Job Opportunities

Date: August 11, 2021

Project Engineer
U.S. Mint

Director of Construction
Office of the Architect of the Capitol

DC Ranks As 3rd Most “Future-Focused” US City

Date: July 21, 2021

Washington, D.C., ranked third among the most “future-focused” cities in the nation according to rankings by Financebuzz. The personal finance data and information company analyzed data points on sustainability, environmental friendliness, and infrastructure, patch.com reports.

DC scored high in the categories of electric vehicle charging station availability, per capita solar power availability, and average Internet speed, and earned a perfect “ParkScore,” which measures citizens’ access to eco-friendly gathering places. The two highest ranking cities were Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco.


DC Plans Three Bridges in Ward 7 to Improve Connectivity

Date: July 21, 2021

Mayor Bowser announced plans to construct three bridges in Ward 7 to improve pedestrian accessibility and connectivity in Mayfair, Parkside, Eastland Gardens, and the surrounding communities of Deanwood and Minnesota Avenue. The proposed bridges include the replacement for the Lane Place Bridge, the Parkside Bridge, and the Douglass Street Bridge.

“We are committed to working with the community and making the necessary investments to increase connectivity, improve safety, and build a multi-modal transportation network that works better for the residents of Ward 7,” Bowser said.


DC Job Opportunity

Date: July 21, 2021

Director, Chemical Industry Data
American Chemistry Council

See other engineering job opportunities on the NSPE Job Board.

Ward 7 Slated for New General Services Headquarters

Date: June 7, 2021

Funding to the tune of $105 million has been secured to construct new headquarters for DC’s Department of General Services in Ward 7’s Minnesota/Benning submarket. The property, called Northeast Heights, will house the government agency, which has more than 700 skilled employees. The agency will lease the entire office component of the building. The six-story building will include 18,000 square feet of street-level retail, the Commerical Observer reports. Mayor Bowser has been leading an effort to develop all eight wards of the city to increase equity and opportunity.


Northeast Boundary Tunnel Project Addresses Flooding

Date: June 7, 2021

Excavation of the $580 million Northeast Boundary Tunnel has been completed. The project, which used an Earth Pressure Balance Tunnel Boring Machine, completed the combined sewer outflow tunnel that is meant to improve the water quality of the Anacostia. About 27,700 feet of tunnel were excavated and 4,442 rings installed, according to Construction Equipment Guide. The final project will increase the capacity of the sewer system to help manage flooding caused by rain, a longtime problem in DC.

For Purple Line PE, Progress is Paramount

Date: May 14, 2021

Matthew Pollack, P.E., of the Maryland Transit Administration, “took over the Purple Line project just before it became a 16-mile swath of mostly abandoned construction sites across the Washington suburbs,” reports the Washington Post. Now he’s responsible for getting it done.

In an interview with the Post, Pollack described himself as “a public transit fan or rail nut, or whatever you’d want to call me.” Why did he want to oversee the project even though it was over budget and behind schedule? “Part of it is I’ve worked on enough projects that I know there’s no such thing as a perfect project. What might seem like a dire situation to the public is really just a project that needs a different way forward….”


Governors and Mayor Request Additional Funding for Bay

Date: May 14, 2021

Governors from Chesapeake Bay watershed states, plus DC mayor Muriel Bowser, are urging Congress to spend an additional billion dollars on Bay restoration efforts, according to the Bay Journal. In an announcement on Twitter, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said, “Our Billion for the Bay Initiative will create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and protect the health of America’s largest estuary.”

The letter said the additional money would provide a “significant and much needed infusion of new funds that will jumpstart the final phase of Bay restoration and put people to work building clean water infrastructure, including green infrastructure that will reduce stormwater and agricultural water pollution, the restoration of natural landscapes, and helping us adapt to the impacts of climate change.”

The region faces a 2025 deadline to implement all pollution control measures needed to clean up the Bay.


DC Locally Made Grant Invests in Manufacturing

Date: May 14, 2021

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s DC Locally Made Manufacturing Grant has invested $1 million in local businesses that are located in a Great Streets corridor and engage in light manufacturing with funding for capital or tenant improvements of commercial property with a designated industrial use. This grant incentivizes the Great Streets initiative to bolster manufacturing, grow the District’s local business economy, and strengthen supply chains within the city.


National Building Museum Reopens

Date: May 14, 2021

The National Building Museum has reopened after being closed since December 2019 for renovations and due to the pandemic. The only US institution dedicated to the built environment, the 41-year-old museum’s current exhibits focus on a nonprofit architecture firm working to address public health and personal well-being, the Gun Violence Memorial Project, and architectural photography.

Upstart Launches Electric Moped Line in DC

Date: April 16, 2021

Micromobility company Lime has launched an initial fleet of 100 shareable mopeds in Washington, D.C., and plans to eventually deploy 600 total. The mopeds can reach up to 28 miles per hour and can travel 87 miles on a single charge, with each vehicle containing two helmets, for a driver and a passenger, according to utilitydive.com. Riders can locate and reserve the mopeds using a mobile app. Lime expects to launch similar fleets in other international cities, starting with Paris.

In January, the National Academies issued a report saying that if shared modes of transportation such as mopeds and scooters can improve sustainability and equity in major metropolitan areas, then they should be explored. The report highlights some significant barriers to achieving increasingly integrated transportation services, and advises all entities involved should pilot test, evaluate, and share best practices.


City Considers Soundproofing Requirements for New Residential Construction

Date: April 16, 2021

DC lawmakers are considering a bill to require soundproofing for newly built residences near areas with concentrated nightlife and entertainment or music venues. The Harmonious Living Amendment Act of 2021 was introduced in April in response to complaints from residents living near outdoor performance spots, particularly in gentrifying neighborhoods.

The act would create a grant program for soundproofing entertainment venues, as well as a property tax deduction for soundproofing buildings. It also requires the mayor to publish a report on strategies to accommodate outdoor performances, with a focus on physical improvements like streetscape design, building code revisions, band shells, or other design standards to contain sound.

Geotechnical Challenges on Wharf Redevelopment Project

Date: March 11, 2021

In 2020, significant work was completed on the second phase of the Wharf redevelopment project. One aspect of the project, the foundational work, was carried out by the geotechnical firm Keller, included site dewatering and treatment of contaminated groundwater, in addition to jet grouting, tiebacks and piling, according to GeoEngineer.org. Dewatering the site and treating the contaminated groundwater were complex undertakings. After water authorities denied Keller’s request to discharge all of the site water into the combined sewer system, the water had to be discharged into the storm-water system that empties into the Washington Channel. But this required treatment beforehand to remove contaminants such as iron, arsenic and pesticides.

The biggest challenge: severely high levels of naturally occurring iron that precipitates out of the groundwater and rapidly builds up in pipes, pumps, and drainage structures. To keep the iron in solution and preventing it from plugging the filter beds of the treatment system, a chemical iron sequestering agent was injected into the pumping system.


Air Particulate Matter from Metro Found To Be at Risky Levels

Date: March 11, 2021

A study on air pollution in and around the major subway systems in the US, including Washington’s Metrorail, has found air particulate matter at potentially dangerous levels. The air pollution included carbon, iron, and silicon, which is flung up by train brakes and created by the friction between the train wheels and rails, according to the study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. Other trace elements were also found, such as sodium, copper, and zinc at the Capital South Metro station. This raises concern for passengers exposed to the particulate while waiting for trains and more so for Metro employees who breathe the air throughout their shifts.

Metro Commission Says Current Structures and Procedures May Be Unsafe

Date: February 11, 2021

Ten Metrorail bridges may be unable to withstand an earthquake, according to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. The commission is calling for changes to procedures within WMATA as well as structure modifications to keep customers safe, according to WUSA 9. The recommendations outlined by WMSC, an independent oversight organization, were part of a safety audit of WMATA’s inspection, maintenance, and repair procedures for elevated structures.


Norton Returning as Subcommittee Chair for Transit, Development, Water

Date: February 11, 2021

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) was elected by her fellow Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to return as the chair of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee. Norton has focused her congressional committee work on transportation and infrastructure, most recently as a primary architect of the Moving Forward Act, which provides major funding for highways, bridges, transit, and rail. The subcommittee’s jurisdiction over transit, including WMATA rail and bus systems, is of particular importance to the District and the national capital region.

In addition, Norton will serve on three other subcommittees that she sought because of their strong impact on the District: Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management; Aviation; and Water Resources and Environment.


DC Joins Transportation and Climate Initiative

Date: February 11, 2021

In December, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the District became the first jurisdictions to formally join the Transportation and Climate Initiative, which focuses on infrastructure that promotes bicycling and walking. The initiative could save millions of lives and billions of dollars across 12 northeastern states and DC, according a study published in the Journal of Urban Health. The partnership, still under development, would implement a cap-and-invest program to reduce transportation-sector emissions across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, including substantial investment in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure as well as other sustainable transportation strategies like electric vehicle charging and public transit.

Critics of the initiative cite expected gas price increases as one problem with the plan. Additionally, there is some controversy about whether there will be enough oversight to ensure that transportation accessibility and cleaner air will be brought to the impoverished communities that need it most. Also, many environmental groups are skeptical about the effectiveness of cap-and-trade systems, Greater Washington reports.

DC MATHCOUNTS News

Date: January 27, 2021

With the emergence of the COVID pandemic, MATHCOUNTS announced that for this year’s competitions there will be four levels (Chapter, Chapter Competition, State, and National); all conducted online.

This year 15 DC middle schools have registered 152 students to compete in DC MATHCOUNTS Chapter, Chapter Competition, State level competitions. All of these students are eligible to compete at the Chapter level competition on February 5-6.

Based on the scores from the Chapter level competition, students invited to compete at the Chapter Invitational on February 25 will include the top 20% plus the top scoring student from each school. Somewhere between 30 and 44 students will be eligible to compete at this level.

As for the State competition, which will take place on March 25, the 15 top scoring students from the Chapter Invitational will be invited to compete. The four students with the highest scores will represent DC at the National competition on May 8-11. Further information about DC MATHCOUNTS can be found on the DC MATHCOUNTS’ Facebook page.


DC Utilities Launch Website Aimed at Helping Customers with Energy Bills

Date: January 27, 2021

Four District agencies charged with serving DC utility consumers have unveiled the website here2helpdc.dc.gov, which is designed to inform residents and businesses about energy and money-saving initiatives to help them minimize the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The website is a part of #Here2HelpDC, a public awareness campaign launched in June by the Department of Energy & Environment, the DC Public Service Commission, the DC Sustainable Energy Utility, and the Office of the People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia. On the website, the agencies provide tips and tools to help consumers conserve energy and water resources, reduce billing costs, and use relief and payment programs.


Washington Gas Fined for 2016 Apartment Explosion

Date: January 27, 2021

Washington Gas was fined $750,000 for 2016 Silver Spring Apartment Explosion for failing to inform the Public Service Commission that it had not replaced all its mercury regulators as promised. The regulators were found by the National Transportation Safety Board to be the likely cause of the explosion, which caused seven deaths and 65 injuries. The company was also required to provide a list of all residents who likely still have the old regulators within 30 days.


Experiment To Test Effectiveness of Spending Warnings by Text

Date: January 27, 2021

Mayor Bowser launched a pilot program that will use data from traffic cameras around the city to randomly send text messages to drivers with a history of speeding, warning them they may be in danger of getting in an accident. The experiment will test whether messaging can change driver behavior to make roads safer, according to WTOP. A 2015 report from the Journal of Traffic and Engineering found that drivers with multiple traffic violations are more likely to be involved in crashes.

Metro Budget Cuts Loom

Date: December 16, 2020

In light of drastically reduced ridership during the pandemic, Metro is moving closer to severe cuts in transit service that include eliminating weekend service and closing a number of stations. According to a Washington Post article, there will be "a public comment period during three to four weeks beginning in mid-January." Metro's challenge is consistent with the revenue shortfalls experienced by transit agencies across the country, with coastal cities experiencing a more pronounced effect.


Manufacturing Jobs Disappearing in the District

Date: December 16, 2020

The Federal Reserve reported that only 1.7% of all jobs in the District are in the manufacturing sector. Out of all major U.S. metro areas, D.C. reports the smallest share of employment in manufacturing. Today, there are 30% less manufacturing jobs in the metro area than in 1999. This represents a wider nationwide trend.


Free Webinar—Engineering Ethics

Date: November 18, 2020

On November 13, NSPE-DC President Dan Hanlon, P.E., F.NSPE and NSPE Treasurer and Chair of the Board of Ethical Review Susan Sprague, P.E., F.NSPE served as presenters during the webinar Engineering Ethics: The Basics.

In this webinar, Hanlon and Sprague explore the ethics—specifically the NSPE Code of Ethics—that are at the heart of the engineering profession and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

Engineers in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia can access this webinar at no cost. Other members can access this and other webinars for $99 ($129 for nonmembers) through NSPE’s PE Institute.


Bus Garage Replacement Project Raises Community Concerns

Date: November 18, 2020

Metro is rebuilding its Northern Bus Garage to again hold 150 buses, but area neighbors in DC want WMATA to use electric buses to reduce noise and air pollution, the DCist reports.

Under the plan, the 100-year-old garage will be demolished and a new one reconstructed in its place starting in 2022. Metro intends for the garage to be LEED-certified and able to hold 150 “clean diesel” and hybrid-electric buses. WMATA, however, will not have 150 electric buses by the time the garage is completed. Currently, the agency runs a combination of diesel, compressed natural gas, and hybrid buses.


Systems Engineering a Highly Paid Field in the District

Date: November 18, 2020

A ClearanceJobs report on the job market in D.C. lists systems engineering as one of the top five highest paid jobs in the District, with an average salary of $130,250. Industries in this category included aerospace, avionics, geospatial, modeling, simulations, and management. At the same time, the report says, workers with government clearance in D.C. are more likely to fall into the Government/Military and Business/Finance job categories than IT and Engineering.

Capitol Crossing Project Among Mid-Atlantic’s Best

Date: October 28, 2020

Engineering News-Record has named Capitol Crossing as the Best Project in the highway/bridge category for the Mid-Atlantic. The $263.3-million, five-year project involved construction of a seven-acre platform above I-395. Now the three-block section has infrastructure to support up to 2.2 million sq ft of commercial, retail and public open space.

“Developers are losing available space in D.C., which is already limited vertically,” says Alan Le, project manager at Balfour Beatty, referring to the city’s 130-ft height limit for buildings. “They have to be innovative in terms of creating space. When the [Capitol Crossing] concept came out to build over an active highway, it was the first project of this type to be built in the city.”


Geography of Environmental Toxins in the District

Date: October 28, 2020

A survey of the District of Columbia’s environmental toxins including soil contaminants, air pollution, and water pollution found that people living in Wards 5, 6, and 7 are exposed to more toxins than other District residents, according to the D.C. Policy Center.

These are some of the lowest income areas of Washington. Recent studies have found a 7% increase in incidents of cancer within counties with high environmental toxins. In addition, pollutants in the environment have a negative impact on quality of life, in large part because of health impacts.


COVID-19 Pandemic’s Dramatic Impact on Transit

Date: October 28, 2020

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington, DC, has seen a 66% reduction of ridership on Metrobus and 90% reduction on Metrorail, according to the National Academies’ Transportation Research Board (TRB).

The TRB executive director said civil engineers and other professionals will need to rethink how transportation will look in the future. Factors that should be considered include public perception of safety, equity issues, and possible long-term teleworking arrangements for many workers. Transit appears to have been the form of transportation most affected by the pandemic.


Are You the Next Federal Engineer of the Year?

Date: October 28, 2020

Honoring the commitment of federal engineers to innovation and service is the hallmark of the Federal Engineer of the Year Award. Nominations for the award, which attracts participation from more than a dozen federal agencies, are open until October 31.

The FEYA ceremony is scheduled for February 18, 2021, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Tickets will be available for sale in January and sponsorship opportunities are available.


DCSPE Annual Banquet

Date: June 8, 2019

On June 8, the DCSPE and MDSPE-Potomac Chapter hosted an evening to celebrate the engineering profession, install 2019- 2020 officers, and support DCSPE programs and scholarship fund during their Annual Banquet at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Washington, DC.

During the banquet, they also presented the Project of the Year to the SmithGroup for their collaboration with a design-build partner to designing a world-class headquarters for DC Water.

DCSPE Annual Banquet 2019

LEFT: DAN HANLON, P.E., F.NSPE
CENTER: DON POSSON, VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE DIRECTOR FOR THE SMITH GROUP
DATE OF PICTURE: JUNE 8, 2019

2019 DCSPE BANQUETDCSPE 2019 ANNUAL BANQUET
2019 DCSPE BANQUETDCSPE 2019 ANNUAL BANQUET

A Celebration of the Profession

DCSPE and the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers—Potomac Chapter invite you to attend the 2019 Annual Banquet to celebrate the profession and help to usher in new leadership on June 8, 2019.

The event will take place at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Washington, DC. Reservations are open until May 31 ($65 per person).

All proceeds from the event will support the DCSPE/MDSPE Scholarship Fund.

> Learn more about the 2019 Annual Banquet and sponsorship opportunities.

2018 Project of the Year Award

Dan Hanlon, P.E., F.NSPE and DCSPE Board Member presents the DCSPE 2018 Project of the Year Award to Madison Marquette for their Wharf Project located at the Southwest Waterfront in DC.

2018 Project of the YearLEFT: DANIEL MCCAHAN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, DEVELOPMENT, MADISON MARQUETTE
CENTER: DAN HANLON, P.E., F.NSPE
RIGHT: DAVID PATALITA, DIRECTOR OF CONSTRUCTION, MADISON MARQUETTE
DATE OF PICTURE: DECEMBER 12, 2018

DC Society at the 2018 PE Conference

From July 18–22 in Las Vegas, at Caesars Palace, NSPE members enjoyed an exciting week full of exceptional education programs, speakers, and great networking.

Dan Hanlon, P.E., F.NSPEDAN HANLON, P.E., F.NSPE, DC REPRESENTATIVE AT #PECON18

#PECON18 House of Delegates, InstallationHOUSE OF DELEGATES, INSTALLATION

IMAGES COURTESY OF NSPE AND CHRISTIE'S PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIOS

Save the date to join us in Kansas City for the 2019 Professional Engineers Conference July 17-21, 2019!

DCSPE Board Meeting

The DCSPE Board of Directors generally meet at 12 PM (Noon) on the first Friday of each month. Board Meetings are held at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering Conference Room (Suite 212M) located in Building 42 of the UDC campus at 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. The meeting location is Metro accessible via the Van-Ness/UDC station on the red line. For more information, please contact Pradeep Behera.

News for the DC Society Community, a new monthly e-newsletter

This newsletter is available to DCSPE members, the kind of information you receive as a benefit of your membership.