a national leader on stormwater?
Late in 2011 the District of Columbia and Environmental Protection Agency representatives proclaimed the release of a new stormwater management permit that could significantly reduce the pollution flowing from storm drains into the creeks and rivers of the nation’s capital. The new permit calls for retaining the first 1.2 inches of rainfall on properties in the District. When enforced, this new standard will reduce the poison runoff that flows from streets, parking lots and other paved surfaces. The permit provides incentives for solutions and environmental design standards that help capture rain water, such as trees, rain gardens and other landscape that soaks in water.
The Anacostia is one of the ten most polluted rivers in the nation. For too long we have accepted that a polluted Anacostia has to be a reality for the District. However, under pressure from the EPA, the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) is finally dealing with the six most toxic sites along the Anacostia, one of which is Pepco's Benning Road power plant. On February 2, 2011, DDOE announced that it had reached a "consent decree" with Pepco that it believes will address the legacy of pollution at Benning Road (to learn more click here). The proposal is promising, as there have been six documented releases of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the site over the years. PCBS are known cuase developmental problems and are carcinogenic in humans and wildlife, for example two-third of all brown bull-head catfish (pictured above) in the Anacostia have tumors.
In 1983, 1987 and 2000, Maryland Governors and their counterparts in Virginia, the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed signed formal agreements that set timelines for cleaning up the Bay. The most recent agreement called for deadlines that were to be met by 2010. That deadline will not be met. Clean Water Action supported the strongest possible version of this latest agreement, understanding that we would continue fighting for the enforcement of the Clean Water Act as the likeliest means restoring the Bay.