Blue Plains in Southwest DC Recognized as the One City Location of the Month

Monday, December 1, 2014
Largest advanced wastewater treatment plant in the world offers unique backdrop for filming

The DC Office of Motion Picture and Television Development is pleased to recognize the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant in Southwest Washington as the December 2014 One City Location of the Month. The plant, which sits at the southernmost tip of the District, covers more than 150 acres along the Potomac River and treats an average of 300 million gallons of wastewater per day for 640,000 District residents and nearly 2 million people in neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia. This facility offers a captivating backdrop for all types of multimedia projects looking to capture the District’s many untapped wonders.

Blue Plains first opened for limited operations in July 1937 as the Blue Plains Sewage Disposal Plant, ushering in a new era in sanitation. Previously, open sewers ran through the city and discharged to the waterways without treatment, carrying with them the potential for infectious outbreaks. The federal government commissioned the construction of Blue Plains, under the Public Works Administration as part of FDR’s New Deal.

The treatment facility, which serves as the largest advanced wastewater treatment plant in the world, began with just 12 primary clarification tanks and acres of unused land. Today, primary, secondary, tertiary and filtration wastewater treatment processes take up most of the 153-acre site, and more are being built. The facility is held to some of the strictest discharge permit levels in the world, requiring cutting-edge scientific research to achieve.

In addition to the acres and acres of open treatment tanks, there are several massive projects underway or recently completed at Blue Plains that are awe inspiring. This $4 billion in capital investment includes the Clean Rivers Project, which is tunneling 100 feet below the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, and is accessed through giant shafts on the Blue Plains plant.

Rising in the other direction, 70 feet above the plant, are 4 large digesters, part of a new Biosolids Management Program that is the largest of its kind in the world.

Unprecedented filming locations include a deep hundred foot shaft with yellow waterproofing covering the walls and the new Blue Plains Tunnel, which ultimately will stretch 4.5 miles from Blue Plains to near Nationals Park. The tunnel is currently 60 percent completed. Blue Plains also has its own dock and stunning river views of downtown Washington, Old Town Alexandria and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

In 2011, the DC Film Office launched One City Location of the Month to bring attention to the wide range of varied, cinematically compelling locations that are available to film and television productions. Former One City Location of the Month recipients include the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Northeast, Adams Morgan neighborhood in Northwest, Barracks Row in Southeast, and the DC War Memorial in Southwest.

To learn more about Blue Plains and to view photos, please visit the One City Location of the Month feature on our web site. If you are interested in using Blue Plains as a future filming location, please contact us at [email protected].