D.C. & FEDERAL AFFAIRS
DC Breaks Ground on its
Clean Rivers Project
A ceremony at the Blue Plains Advanced
Wastewater Treatment Plant on October
12th marked the beginning of an enormous
project to clean up the Anacostia and
Potomac Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay—
the DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project. Mayor
Vincent Gray, Delegate Eleanor Holmes
Norton, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, EPA
Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin, and
other dignitaries joined the DC Water’s
General Manager George Hawkins in wielding ceremonial shovels for the largest public
works project in Washington since the
Metro was built.
Over the next 14 years, DC Water—the
public water and sewage utility that serves
the District and some suburban areas—will
build a massive system of tunnels under the
District of Columbia to eliminate most over-
DC Water’s Clean River
Project will prevent dangerous
sewage from overflowing
directly into DC’s rivers.
flows from the District’s ancient combined
sewer system. Parts of the water and sewer
infrastructure date back to the Civil War.
Much of the central and eastern part of the
District is served by a combined sewer system, in which sewage is combined with
urban stromwater runoff. During moderate
to heavy rains or snowmelt, the system simply isn’t large enough to handle the volume,
and it overflows into the Anacostia and
Potomac Rivers and Rock Creek. Each year,
an average of 88 overflows dump about 2. 5
billion gallons of urban runoff and diluted
sewage into local waterways.
The new Metro-sized tunnels, more than
100 feet below ground, will hold overflow
from the old system and slowly feed it to the
Blue Plains facility. The first tunnel, to be
completed by 2018, will prevent most overflows to the Anacostia. Such overflows cause
bacteria, excess nutrients, and chemicals to
directly enter D.C.’s rivers.
Congressman Steny Hoyer Discusses
Pollution-Reduction Programs with
CBF and Farmers
In August, during
Steny Hoyer readily accepted an
invitation to to
interests in the
Farm Bill with
Maryland farmers and CBF staff.
Congressman Steny Hoyer
OFFICE OF CONGRESSMAN STENY HOYER
Brent Grosghal and Christine Bergmark
hosted the event at Even’ Star Organic Farm
in St. Mary’s County, only a few hundred
yards from the Bay’s western shoreline.
After a tour of the farm, Congressman
Hoyer spent more than an hour hearing
ideas from the group about how to enhance
both southern Maryland farming and water
quality in the upcoming Farm Bill, which
defines federal agricultural assistance programs. Congress revises this program every
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DENNIS SAMSON, DC WATER
One thing Hoyer heard clearly was that cost-share programs that are helping farmers to
reduce nutrients and sediment that flow to
the Bay must be continued. In 2008,
Congress created a new program called the
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative that has
made great strides in helping farmers to
reduce pollution. That and other federal programs of direct benefit to all states in the
watershed are jeopardized by looming automatic cuts in federal spending (see page 10).
A highlight of the meeting was the participation of several young farmhands, many of
whom hope to be able to make a career of
farming in southern Maryland.
DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project is one of many
such wastewater and urban runoff upgrades from
New York to West Virginia and the Hampton
Roads area that are needed to clean up local
waterways and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin (far right) speaks
on the benefits of Clean water as George Hawkins,
DC Water’s General Manager, looks on.
u For more information on how CBF is working at the federal level to protect and restore the
Bay and its tributaries, visit cbf.org/dc or call