Penn Alumni Water Forum Speaker Spotlight

DC Water's Clean Rivers Project
Gordon C. Evans, PE, MBA, John Moyer, Vivian Ramirez
Sep 22, 2023 at -

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This edition of the Penn Alumni Water Forum's Speaker Spotlight will feature DC Water's Clean Rivers Project, an ongoing program to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSO's) into the District's waterways - the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and Rock Creek. The Project is a massive infrastructure and support program designed to capture and clean wastewater during rainfalls before it ever reaches our rivers.

The discussion will feature Gordon C. Evans, PE, MBA, and the Program Manager, Tunnel Design, for DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project. Gordon will focus on a major piece of the Clean Rivers Project, the Northeast Boundary Tunnel, which is slated to open in September. That will complete a 13-mile long tunnel that is helping improve the water quality in the Anacostia River by capturing combined sewage that otherwise would flow into the river during heavy rains.

About the Speakers

Gordon C. Evans, MBA, PE: Since 2013, Gordon Evans has been a public sector employee of DC Water and Sewer Authority in Washington, DC, serving as Program Manager, Tunnel Design, for DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project. The Clean Rivers program implemented a Long Term Control Plan to construct a system of combined sewer overflow (CSO) tunnels approximately 100 feet below the District’s streets to alleviate surface flooding and discharge of untreated wastewater into the District’s waterways to satisfy terms of a Consent Decree.

Mr. Evans is a registered professional engineer who has served as a private sector consultant on numerous water and wastewater, collection, treatment, and conveyance projects in multiple states. He has also worked as a public works construction contractor building water and wastewater treatment and conveyance systems.

Mr. Evans received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Valparaiso University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Indiana University. He has made previous public works presentations before the American Public Works Association the World Environmental Forum Technical Exhibition Congress, the Rapid Excavation & Tunneling Conference, and schools, universities and professional groups.

Of particular interest to Mr. Evans is the history of development of water and wastewater treatment and conveyance, and its positive impact on public health. He has noted the strong correlation between construction of water and wastewater facilities across the US, with the rise of life expectancy.


John Moyer, Vice President Highland Avenue Partners, Penn DC Alumni Club Member: John Moyer holds BS Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and has been an Executive Board member of the Penn Club DC for three years, serving as the Club Secretary. Originally from Lancaster County PA, John has resided in Loudoun County, VA for 20 years where he hikes, bikes, and kayaks the C&O Canal Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Potomac. For the Penn Club DC, John has led several trail hikes in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. John has hiked the entire 185-mile length of the C&O Canal trail from Georgetown to Cumberland.

John continues to lead management consulting organizations, focusing on operations, mergers and acquisition, and supply chain in the food industry. The earlier part of his career included positions in manufacturing, supply chain, and business development with chemicals, software, and consumer goods firms, with many years living and working in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. John also holds engineering and finance degrees from Villanova and Penn State. John was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to the Loudoun County Water Resources Technical Advisory Committee. He has been an advocate of education and historical preservation, and a long-time member of the American Battlefield Trust and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.


Vivian Ramirez, Development Manager, Seneca Group; Penn DC Alumni Club President: Vivian graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1996 with a Bachelor’s in Design of the Environment and from Georgetown University in 2019 with a Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate Finance. She was a Past President just over 10 years ago with the Penn Club of DC. With over 25 years of multi-sector real-estate experience, Ms. Ramirez is a development manager focused on commercial and mixed-use real-estate projects in the DC region.
Ms. Ramirez lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband who abhors the color orange almost as much as she does; two children who keep her on her toes; and the family dog who has major apprehensions about everyone living under her (the dogs) roof and with Vivian’s dictum for healthy eating. In addition to the time she volunteers with the Penn Club, Ms. Ramirez is also a Planning Commissioner for the City of Alexandria, a Girl Scout Seniors troop leader whose troop has stuck by her side for over 10 years, and volunteer with the local Commercial Real Estate Women’s Community Action Committee. You can usually find her actively enjoying the outdoors all seasons of the year.

About the Clean Rivers Project

The Clean Rivers Project is comprised of a system of deep tunnels, sewers and diversion facilities to capture CSOs and deliver them to DC Water’s Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Project is also installing Green Infrastructure to assist with the reduction of CSOs to the Potomac River and Rock Creek. The Anacostia River and Potomac River tunnel systems include more than 18 miles of tunnels that are larger than the Metro tunnels and are constructed more than 100 feet below the ground.

DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project involves the construction of innovative green infrastructure technologies that include bioretention (rain gardens) in planter strips and curb extensions, permeable pavement on streets and alleys, and downspout disconnection (including rain barrels). These practices will manage stormwater by taking advantage of the earth’s natural processes, such as allowing water to infiltrate into the soil, evaporate into the air, or for plants to use the water and expire it as vapor. ​

The Clean Rivers project is installing "diversion facilities" at strategic locations to capture untreated sewage from wet weather events and divert it to the new 157-million-gallon tunnel system and conveyed to the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. Diversion facility components include a Diversion Chamber to intercept flow from the existing sewers, an Approach Channel to direct the flow and create a vortex, a Drop Shaft to drop the flow approximately 100 feet and an Adit to connect to the main tunnel system. The entire system works by gravity. During dry weather conditions, the existing sewer system uses its existing Dam and Interceptor system to deliver flow to Blue Plains for treatment.

About the Penn Club of DC

The purpose of the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Club of Washington, DC, is to support Penn alumni throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area with diverse cultural, social, educational, sports, community service, personal development, and professional event programming to promote the interests and welfare of Penn alumni and to foster an inclusive and responsive community reflective of the rich diversity of DC-area Penn alumni. We host and support networking opportunities and other activities designed to connect Penn alumni and strengthen the alumni community and encourage communication between Penn and its alumni residing in the the Washington, DC metropolitan and surrounding areas. The Club strives to provide a sustainable infrastructure that ensures diversity and inclusion is a top priority in the selection and evaluation of the Club’s events, the recruitment and selection of the Club’s leaders, and the institution and implementation of the Club’s processes and procedures.