Washington Apple Pi

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District of Columbia: Roads (II)

Not all of the road hazards are planned. Like many older cities, Washington, DC, has an equally ancient water and sewage infrastructure, with many of the larger mains dating back more than a century. When one of these old monsters breaks, the results can be astonishing.

One large break (shown on the right) was so large, and went uncapped for so long, that some Congressmen voted it a "natural" feature, and pushed a bill to turn it into a national park. Critics dubbed this the "Broken Water Main National Parks Bill," and the idea died, eventually.

The consequences of these breaks often literally change the landscape. The Capitol Building, for example, is said to be on "Capitol Hill," yet most people see no evidence of a hill. You've probably guessed the answer: the hill has gradually worn down over the years as hundreds of broken water mains wore the hill away.

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Washington Apple Pi Virtual Tours, October 15, 1997

[Water Main Break]

Former President Nixon's efforts to stop leaks were never properly understood.