Hazel is a state-of-the-art, underground powerhouse that was custom-built to construct a new tunnel under Alexandria to stop combined sewage from polluting its waterways. She carries the namesake of Hazel Johnson, one of America’s leading women pioneers for environmental justice.
“Today is a monumental day for Alexandria and our waterways,” said Karen Pallansch, AlexRenew’s General Manager. “It’s a huge step forward in our commitment to deliver healthier waterways by 2025.”
The arrival and dedication of the TBM is a major milestone for RiverRenew, the largest infrastructure project in Alexandria’s history, and a critical part of meeting state-mandated deadline of July 1, 2025. Once completed, RiverRenew will prevent over 120 million gallons of combined sewage from polluting the Potomac River, Hunting Creek, and Hooffs Run each year.
Hazel will dig and construct the 2 mile long Waterfront Tunnel more than 100 ft below ground to capture, store, and transport combined sewage to AlexRenew, where it will be purified and returned to the Potomac River.
“There’s nothing more important than keeping our communities clean, safe, and healthy. AlexRenew is proud to promote such influential environmental stewardship in our region, and we couldn’t accomplish any of this without the staunch and tireless support from our public and private partners,” Pallansch concluded.
About Hazel Johnson
Hazel Johnson is affectionately known as the mother of the environmental justice movement. Her mission to build a healthier community through a healthier environment began in the late 1970s on the South Side of Chicago. Her community had some of the highest cancer and respiratory illnesses in the city, which was linked to environmental pollution.
In response, Hazel founded an organization to educate those disproportionally impacted by pollution and fought for a safer environment. Hazel’s core belief was that everyone deserves to live in a clean, healthy environment regardless of who they are or where they come from. This sentiment lives at the very heart of RiverRenew.