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DC Water Pipe Marker Case Study

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First of its Kind Pipe Installation Requires One-of-a-Kind Solution from Set

DC Water (District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority), located in Washington DC, runs the world’s largest advanced wastewater treatment facility, the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. It serves more than 1.7 million people in the District of Columbia, as well as Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland and Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia.



DC Water, which provides water and wastewater treatment service, sought a long-term solution for the processing and disposal of biosolids.

That solution was the construction of four Cambi thermal hydrolysis trains, four digesters, new dewatering equipment and a combined heat and power plant. Cambi is a Norway-based provider of technology that converts biodegradable material to renewable energy.

DC Water then awarded the design-build project to the PC/CDM Joint Venture, which is comprised of the expertise of Vermont general contracting firm PC Construction and Massachusetts-based CDM Smith, providing water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities solutions.

Virginia-based construction company MEB General Contractors Inc. was then tasked with getting this solution in place.


The DC Water project marked the first time the Cambi wastewater process was implemented in the US, and would be the largest Cambi installation in the world. It had already been done in Europe and Asia. MEB General Contractors Inc. contacted Seton and requested a bid for the identification of piping in this US-based treatment plant. The pipe markers needed for this project were extremely large and featured colors that had never been used before.


A Seton key account manager, located at the company’s Branford, Connecticut office, played a key role in getting the right pipe markers for the job. He received details of the project from the superintendent at MEB General Contractors Inc., and began immediately to coordinate efforts to get these pipe markers produced and delivered to the jobsite. An operations manager on the Seton team in Buffalo, New York helped construct special jigs to create two different sizes of especially large pipe markers that measured 32″ wide and 39″ tall and 24″ wide and 26″ tall.

Special prototype markers were created and sent to project engineers for approval. The pipe markers contained new colors and wordings that were unique to this particular project. Pipe markers with the wording “HYDROLYZED SLUDGE” were created in vermillion (a color based on the RAL color matching system in Europe) with white letters. Other pipe markers, with the wordings “FLASH STEAM” and “MEDIUM PRESSURE STEAM” were created in purple with white letters.

The job was well underway when the customer needs changed slightly. But Seton was able to adapt quickly to the change and still create a solution that would work effectively and get the job done.

Once some of the pipe markers were installed, it became apparent what the customer ultimately needed: a new style of pipe marker that would completely wrap the unusually large insulated lines and withstand high winds. Cambi also had unique color requirements that had to be met.

Seton provided many samples, and once style and lettering was approved, the jigs were set up and the pipe markers were cut to the exact specifications required.

Even after a final count was determined, Cambi required additional markers–which Seton produced immediately.


The plant’s enormous pipes–39 inches wide and 46 inches high–are now properly marked with Seton Setmark® pipe markers constructed to the customer’s exact specifications.


Seton has been contacted to outfit the company’s next project with the same type of pipe markers. Seton specializes in creating personalized safety and identification solutions designed to solve its customers’ job site and workplace challenges.

Shop Seton’s Pipe Markers Today!

Print a PDF version of the DC Water Case Study here.

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