A new proposed “green infrastructure” initiative could save energy and beautify neighborhoods while reducing pollution coming from sewer pipes in the District of Columbia. DC Water, the regional water and sewer authority that provides drinking water to DC residents and manages wastewater for the Washington metropolitan region, hopes to modify a legal settlement aimed at fixing sewage pollution in Rock Creek and the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers.
On July 14th Washington, DC became the first major city on the East Coast to ban polystyrene foam food containers! Clean Water Action has been campaigning around this issue for months and thanks its many supporters who wrote letters in support of the ban to City Council members. These harmful petroleum-based containers are non-biodegradable and account for up to a fourth of the trash polluting the Anacostia River. Banning polystyrene is huge victory for the District and is an essential step in cleaning up the city’s rivers, wetlands and streams.
Washington, D.C - Yesterday, July 14th 2014, the D.C Council voted unanimously to pass the ban on polystyrene foam food containers, as a part of the D.C. Omnibus Act of 2013. The ban will cover carryout food containers at grocery stores, restaurants and take out locations. This includes items like clamshells, cups, plates, etc. and will take effect January, 2016. In 2017, all disposable food ware will have to be recyclable or compostable.
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.
Baltimore Officials Lead on Water
On September 9, while the U.S. House was voting 262-152 to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers from fixing the Clean Water Act so small streams and wetlands are once again protected, Baltimore took a strong stand for clean water. Baltimore City Council members voted unanimously for a resolution supporting EPA’s clean water rule.
The Council’s decisive action shows that these local officials, at least, understand that small streams and wetlands are “vital to the health of Baltimore’s drinking water,” says Clean Water Action’s Andy Galli. Once EPA’s proposal is finalized, 835 miles of streams and other surface waters flowing into the Baltimore area will benefit, along with “100 percent of Baltimore residents, who get at least some of their drinking water from sources affected by these streams,” Galli says. Read more
October 2, 2014— Regional water utilities, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, national water organizations and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency organized a “Toast to Tap” celebration on Thursday, October 2, 2014 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Congress passed the Act in 1974 and authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate drinking water supplies by setting water quality and delivery standards. Hosted in the Park at CityCenter in Northwest DC, the event brought together members of the water community and local businesses to highlight the value of safe water to the metro region.
Council's Science-Based Vote a Water Protection Landmark
Montgomery County’s Ten Mile Creek has been called the “last best creek.” It feeds the Little Seneca Reservoir which supplies emergency drinking water for more than 4.3 million DC area residents. The creek is at the center of a pristine and sensitive natural resource area in the northern part of the county and has long been threatened by short-sighted development proposals.
The Save Ten Mile Creek Coalition together with Clean Water Action scored a major victory this April, when the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously for responsible limits on new development in area. The Council’s April 1 action thwarted developers’ latest plans, which would have paved over more than 150 acres. Read more