DC Residents: Speak Out for Clean Water and E-mail the EPA by Friday!

Action Alert: Tell the EPA You Want a Clean Water Permit for DC

Dear Friend of the Anacostia,

The Anacostia River needs your help. In fact, so do Rock Creek and the Potomac. EPA Region III has issued a draft MS4 permit (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) to the District of Columbia and the public comment period ends this Friday, June 4. This DC MS4 permit regulates the discharges from the city's storm sewer systems, an important contributor of pollutants to the Anacostia River via dirty stormwater runoff from roads, parking lots, and other impervious surfaces. EPA has issued a good draft permit, but it needs some refinements to do the most good for the city's waterways.

Please, send an e-mail to EPA letting them know that you care about the District's waterways and that you want a strong and effective MS4 permit.

The best way to reduce the volumes of polluted runoff flowing through our storm sewers is to control these flows at the source -- the impervious surfaces that create them. "Green infrastructure" such as raingardens, street trees, and green roofs control stormwater flows on site, reducing runoff and preventing pollutants and damaging high water volumes from reaching our rivers and streams. Building green infrastructure also means creating local, green jobs that can't be outsourced -- doubling the benefit to our community. Local companies like DC Greenworks can clearly see the value of a strong permit to both the environmental and economic health of the District. We also want to see the many different regulatory limits on pollution incorporated into this one place, with enforceable goals, so that progress on cleaning up our waterways can be measured and monitored.

Thank you for taking the time to e-mail EPA and thank you for speaking up on behalf of the Anacostia!

Sample text below:

Mr. Jon Capacasa
Director, Water Protection Division
EPA Region 3
1650 Arch Street (3PM52)
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029

June 4, 2010

Dear Mr. Capacasa:

As a resident of the District of Columbia, I want to personally encourage EPA to issue a strong and effective MS4 permit to help create healthy rivers and healthy communities. There are residents of the District -- younger than you might think -- that remember swimming in the Anacostia River. A strong MS4 permit will be a major step toward returning the Anacostia to fishable and swimmable status while of course promoting a clean and healthy Rock Creek and Potomac.

In particular, I support the following provisions of the permit, although the draft can be clarified and strengthened:

-Specific numbers of green infrastructure projects, such as tree plantings and the building of green roofs, that create local jobs and restore our waterways;

-Green infrastructure requirements for new development and redevelopment projects, including an on-site stormwater retention standard for federal and non-federal projects; and

-An equally effective retrofit program that will systematically remediate existing runoff problems in the District, over time (because existing development has caused existing problems).

Finally, I ask that EPA strengthen the following provisions:

-Pollution cleanup plans, via effectively and fully incorporating existing and future TMDLs and their Waste Load Allocations, for the Anacostia, Rock Creek and Potomac, with clear, consistent, and enforceable requirements and deadlines; and

-Pollution reduction requirements and programs, such as a specific number of new storm drain screens and trash traps with a timeline for completion;

Because I want to see clear, enforceable goals and accountability in the District's MS4 permit.

EPA has made a good beginning, but I believe we need more in the MS4 permit to achieve healthy waterways in the District of Columbia. I look forward to seeing EPA's response to citizen comments and will be watching for a timely release of the final permit.

[Your Name Here]



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