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You better bee-lieve this wastewater facility is buzzing with activity


July, 2017
L. Irwin
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A sweet experiment dots the roof of a building within the campus of Blue Plains, the wastewater treatment plant on the bank of the Potomac River in Washington D.C.

Statistics show that the number of honeybees in the United States has declined from 6 million during the 1940’s to about 2.5 million today. That level of decline is reflected worldwide, inspiring many to find innovative ways to encourage bees to . . . bee.  Blue Plains WWTP introduced a rooftop apiary as part of a larger plan to build links with the urban agricultural community.  The idea is to promote sustainability while also helping increase the bee population.

Working with the DC Beekeepers Alliance, several challenges related to location were solved early, and now the bees appear to be doing quite well. Even initial concerns about stings to the D.C. Water workers have proved unfounded, with the focused little honey-makers being called “remarkably tame.”

This year, project managers were rewarded with D.C. Water’s first harvest of Blue Plains Honey.  The tiny jars have become a popular giveaway for community gatherings. Continued success of the program could inspire similar experiments in urban settings throughout the country.

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/something-sweet-is-buzzing-at-dcs-wastewater-treatment-plant/2017/07/06/af4777ba-5787-11e7-ba90-f5875b7d1876_story.html?utm_term=.34a2aedd6f0a
  2. http://www.dcbeekeepers.org/


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