Cleaner Air Along the C&O Canal, Smarter Water Use in Commercial Buildings

April 11, 2016

This week, parts of Washington, D.C., took steps to improve their environment and better their water sustainability with odor-scrubbing facilities and new water treatment technology.

The smell of sewer gas along the C&O Canal will soon come to an end. On June 4, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority cut the ribbon for its first odor-scrubbing facility next to Fletcher’s Boathouse.

“I’m happy, definitely and especially because of the areas where there are kids,” said Fatou Sanyang, a Georgetown mom, who spends her mornings walking around the canal with her son.

Although the initiative began in the 1990s, it took years and more than 40 permits to break ground of the first facility in 2010, leading to the beginning of D.C.’s Fresh Air Operation. The project includes six buildings with scrubbers along the 50-mile-long Potomac Interceptor, which carries approximately 50 million gallons of sewage per day. Three of the buildings are under construction in Maryland, and two others, soon to begin operation, in Virginia, according to Pamela Mooring, communications manager at the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority.
The buildings will control odors by sucking the sewer gas into the scrubber, getting rid of the smelly gasses and releasing non-odorous air back outside. Two of these buildings will also have public restrooms.

In addition, an effort to build sustainability by cutting water, electricity and toxic chemical use in commercial buildings began in downtown D.C.

The Willard InterContinental on Pennsylvania Avenue, along with property developers and owners Lerner Enterprise, Carr Properties, and W.C. Smith, are now working with Silver Bullet, a company that provides an innovative approach to the use of cooling towers.
The system works in the following way: the processor, which combines UV treatment and additional elements, breaks the oxygen molecule and sends it to the cooling tower’s water supply, where it is combined to form hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The new chemical compound prevents bacterial growth and corrosion, and it also reduces water consumption. At the same, this process requires very little electricity, becoming a more efficient and lower maintenance option, according to Carlton Diehl, regional vice president of Silver Bullet.
“It’s an amazingly elegant way of using chemistry,” Diehl said. “You can see the savings from the very first day.”

Innovative, toxic-free and efficient technology is on the rise to help big and small businesses reduce their costs and help protect the environment. Projects like Fresh Air Operation and Silver Bullet’s water treatment technology are examples that should regularly benefit residents and visitors of the District of Columbia.

Dine ’n Dash With José Andrés and Friends

July 18, 2013

Eating without paying. That is what most people think when they hear “Dine and Dash.” However, chef José Andrés has added a new and positive definition to this concept — all for a good cause.

On a hot evening June 25, Andrés and friends presented the first annual Dine ‘n’ Dash, which six restaurants from Penn Quarter joined, including Oyamel, Jaleo, Proof, Zaytinya, Poste and Azur. The event worked as follows: after purchasing your wristband, you were assigned to a restaurant as your starting point. The goal was to stroll through all of them within four hours, which was not an easy task. As you walked in, unlimited drinks and delicious food surrounded you at all times. Waiters with full and colorful trays were everywhere, offering different dishes and making sure you were never empty-handed.

The $150 cost of the wristband covered the unlimited food and benefited World Central Kitchen . A non-profit run by Think Food Group, that José Andrés started after a trip to Haiti. Its goal is to “foster future generations of innovators and activists and to change the world through the power of food.” World Central Kitchen is committed to find solutions that will help combat hunger around the globe.

The June 25 event raised more than $60,000 that will go towards “Smart Solutions to Hunger and Poverty,” which focuses on providing and facilitating local agriculture, clean cook stoves, sustainable kitchens and job training in Haiti. According to World Central Kitchen, more than 600 persons attended.

Amtrak Improves Menus; Michel Richard on Team

June 20, 2013

It is not surprise that food in airplanes and trains aren’t known for flavorful and succulent taste. Booking a flight or buying a train ticket used to hold an air of excitement for many. For businesspersons, who often find themselves traveling four times a week, a good meal could be the one highlight of a trip.

Unfortunately, the feedback from passengers about the food in trains and planes are usually not positive and often end up in complaints and disappointments. Imagine comments which include: “The chicken was cold. The bread was five days old. There was no vegetarian option.” Most people opt for bringing their own sandwich or not eating at all and waiting to eat at that destinations. Still the idea of eating gourmet during a trip might change the minds of some travelers.

Amtrak has already stepped up its game by hiring top chefs in the United States to be the brain of its culinary advisory team in exchange for frequent traveler miles. With a little bit of salt and a little bit of pepper, the team of 12 top chefs are in charge of coming up with healthier and tastier meals for passengers.

Cooks like Tom Douglas from Seattle and Roberto Santibañez from Mexico are among the gang of 12. They are joined by Michel Richard, well-known in Georgetown for his restaurant Citronelle, which closed due to water damage, and Central Michel Richard still up and running on Pennsylvania Avenue. From France, Richard spent some time in California before moving to D.C., where his cuisine won the heart of the nation’s capital and is a must-go place on the restaurant scene.

The team comes together each spring to brainstorm new dishes for Amtrak’s menu. Their challenge is to come up with meals that are healthier and satisfy all palates. With longer routes, they have more flexibility to come up with more elaborate food, while in shorter routes, they have to be ready to come up with pre-packed meals ready to be heated up or served as it is. This could be the beginning of a gourmet experience when you travel short and long distances.