Yesterday marked the official start of a 90-day public comment period for a proposed rule on the Clean Water Act (CWA) published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps). This proposal more clearly defines which waters are protected under the CWA closing some loopholes in the law for wetlands and streams. For the Anacostia River watershed, this could mean that there would be no doubt that the wetlands and seasonal streams that support the river are protected under the law ensuring smart land use and development near those areas.
A new study shows that Washington DC’s Bag Law is working for both consumers and businesses. That’s the conclusion of a study commissioned by the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) that surveyed residents and businesses to measure the impact of the law that was implemented four years ago to reduce plastic bag litter, especially in streams and the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. Across the District there has been a significant reduction in disposable bag use: businesses have reduced their use of bags by 50% on average, and four in five DC residents now carry reusable bags when shopping, with 58% stating that they carry them “most of the time” or “always.”
Of the 600 randomly surveyed DC residents –
Pepco Energy Services has announced that they have plans to completely demolish the power plant that sits just off of Benning Road NE near the Anacostia River.
Google satellite image of the Pepco Benning Road facility (property boundary highlighted in red) – the power plant structure occupies only 25% of the site which is bordered by the Anacostia River (West), a DC Solid Waste Station and the National Park Service Kenilworth Maintenance Yard (North), residential areas (East and South), and Benning Road (South).
Joining the efforts of many in returning the Anacostia River to an ecologically healthy state, the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) is once again taking the lead on the issue of contaminated sediments, but this time on a much larger scale. DDOE recently announced that it will conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) of the sediments in the entire stretch of the Anacostia River!
Anacostia River seen from Bladensburg Waterfront Park.
Pepco Benning Road Power Plant
View of the Anacostia River under the South Capitol St Bridge.
Friday, September 28, 2012, is the submission deadline for public comments regarding the three work plan documents Pepco developed, per the Consent Decree, for the investigation of suspected contaminants migrating from their Benning Road property to the Anacostia River.
Google Map showing neighborhoods immediately impacted by Pepco Benning Road Facility operations. Starting from the northwestern portion of the map and ending in the northeastern portion, these neighborhoods are: Carver Terrace, Langston Terrace, Kingman Park, River Terrace, Mayfair, Eastland Gardens, Kenilworth-Parkside.
On September 15, 2012, Pepco and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) will host a Community Meeting at the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (4058 Minnesota Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20019) in the Community Room from 11 am to 1 pm. This public event is an opportunity for those interested in the Pepco Benning Road environmental site investigation and cleanup to learn more about these efforts and provide comments directly to DDOE and Pepco officials.
Click here for a copy of the official public notice.
We have also compiled summaries of the work plan documents currently up for public comment:
1. Summary of the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) Work Plan
2. Summary of the Health and Safety Plan
The current comment periods for the Pepco Benning Road Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) work plans have been extended. All comments must now be submitted by September 28, 2012, to the District Department of the Environment (see details below).
These documents can be accessed on DDOE's website by clicking on the following links:
1. Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) Work Plan
2. Sampling and Analysis Plan
3. Health and Safety Plan
The study area (highlighted in blue) for this investigation consists of the entire Pepco Benning Road property, totaling 77 acres, and a segment of the Anacostia River, approximately 12 acres. (This image was taken from the work plans prepared by AECOM.)