Anacostia Watershed Blog

Ten Scariest Facts About the Chesapeake Bay (and the Anacostia!)

On Saturday, October 29 please celebrate Halloween on the banks of the Anacostia River with Environment America, Environmental Justice Committee of the American Public Health Association, the Anacostia Watershed Society and US Representative Donna Edwards.  Environmental America will be releasing their "Ten Scariest Facts about the Chesapeake Bay" and Anacostia Watershed Society will make clear that the Bay's problems start upstream in our rivers.  After a brief press conference volunteers and advocates will clean up the river!

Press release

Ten Scariest Facts About the Chesapeake Bay

New Clean Water Act Permit a Step Toward Clean Rivers in DC

The single biggest source of pollution in the Anacostia River is stormwater runoff.  Perhaps the most important regulatory framework designed to reduce stormwater polution is the MS4 permit (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System), which is issued to DC directly by EPA Region 3.  AWS and its allies have been engaged in a years long campaign to strengthen this permit - a campaign that is finally coming to fruition today with a 1:00pm release event at Yards Park.

DC Combined Sewer / Separate Sewer Map
The new DC MS4 permit covers the separated sewer system, shown in white

Community Toxics Meeting and Pepco Clean Up

There have been six documented releases (1985-2003) of the toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the Pepco Plant at Benning Road into the Anacostia River.  ln 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency completed an assessment confirming these releases.  As a result, the District of Columbia filed complaint against Pepco citing its responsibility for the clean up.  Eventually, a consent decree, or judicial voluntary agreement between the District and Pepco (without admission of fault) was announced to the public, in February 2011.  At this time, it is unclear if the decree will address short term and LONG TERM environmental, social, and health related impacts from these spills.

Join us!

September 26, 2011
6:30pm - 9:00pm
Center For Green Urbanism
3938 Benning Road NE
Washington, DC 20019

Detailed Background Information

Anacostia River Toxic Sites

Prince George's County clean water public meeting

On Tuesday, August 16, 2011, Prince George's County government will hold a public meeting on their plans to meet federal clean water requirements.

August 16, 2011, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Prince George’s County Soil Conservation District
5301 Marlboro Race Track Road, Suite 100
Upper Marlboro, MD

Join AWS, Patuxent Riverkeeper, Clean Water Action, and other Prince George's County activists
Monday, September 12, 2011 at 6:30pm, at the Anacostia Watershed Society offices in Bladensburg, the Prince George's Clean Water Coalition will hold a kickoff meeting to connect with other county activists regarding campaign efforts for clean water in the county.
Anacostia Watershed Society
4302 Baltimore Ave
Bladensburg, MD 20710

Prince George's County Passes Stormwater Bill!


The Short Version

On Tuesday, July 19, 2011, Prince George's County Council took an important step forward by unanimously passing a new stormwater ordinance (CB-15-2011).

Our biggest champions were Transportation, Housing and Environment (THE) committee chair Eric Olson (District 3) and THE member Mary Lehman (District 1); both worked hard to improve the bill after the original draft of CB-15 handed down by County Executive Rushern Baker was a disappointment to environmental and community organizations.

Streambank erosion in Paint Branch (College Park) caused by severe stormwater flows
Streambank erosion in Paint Branch (College Park) caused by severe stormwater flows

CB-15: A good compromise for clean water?

On June 20, the Prince George's County Council's THE committee approved a set of modest improvements to CB-15, the stormwater management bill.  Don't believe what you are hearing from County Executive Baker and certain council members that this a "good compromise."

AWS and partners swim for a clean Anacostia River

On June 30, 2011 AWS, Anacostia Riverkeeper, and Senior Scientists & Policymakers for the Bay staged a press conference and "wade in" on the Anacostia River to protest a Clean Water Act deadline that federal, state, and local governments have missed by 28 years

Former State Senator David Harrington, Bladensburg Mayor Walter James, Cheverly Mayor Mike Callahan, and Mount Rainier Councilman William Updike erred on the side of caution

Former State Senator David Harrington, Bladensburg Mayor Walter James, Cheverly Mayor Mike Callahan, and Mount Rainier Councilman William Updike erred on the side of caution while others swam.
Special thanks to friend of AWS Krista Schlyer for use of her excellent photos.

UPDATE: Prince George's Stormwater Bill

On June 20, 2011, the Prince George's County Council's THE Committee (Transportation, Housing, and Environment) met to consider CB-15, the stormwater management bill, for the third time in 12 days.  If you have a wet basement or erosion on your property this bill should be of interest to you.  Communities like Edmonston have flooded because of poor past development practices that would be fixed by a strong stormwater bill.

Donna Edwards supports green infrastructure, will you?

Represenative Donna Edwards is a big part of the Anacostia River's fantastic House Delegation (which includes Chris Van Hollen, Steny Hoyer, and Eleanor Holmes Norton).  Everyone in our delegation is a big supporter of the river, but Represenative Edwards is noteworthy for her longstanding support of green infrastucture.  In an interview published today, she makes several statements very relevant to our current legislative efforts in Prince George's County.

At a time when the region is embracing green infrastructure, the Prince George's stormwater bill (CB-15) offers a redevelopment standard that is "too little, too late" for the economic, aesthetic, and environmental health of county communities.  A healthy community has all of the following: a healthy economy, a healthy environment, and green and attractive areas to live, work, and shop.  An improved CB-15 could help the county realize that vision.

Rep. Donna Edwards at the groundbreaking of Edmonston's green street (courtesy Town of Edmonston)