WSSC removes water from the Potomac River,
filters and disinfects it, transfers the treated
water to a drinking water reservoir, and discharges the untreated water back into the
Potomac River. However, the Washington
Suburban Sanitary Commission has not
always been operating as it should. The commission has chronically failed to meet monthly
and daily wastewater pollution limits for sediment and aluminum, thus smothering underwater grasses, degrading the river’s water
quality, and putting fish health at risk.
In response, on February 12, 2014, CBF and
the Potomac Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit in the
U.S. District Court of Maryland against
WSSC for significant and ongoing violations
of the Clean Water Act including National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
(NPDES) permit violations.
Over one year later, on October 21, WSSC
agreed to take action. Specifically, the commission agreed to install short- and long-term
pollution-control projects and to pay a state
penalty of $100,000. We now wait for court
approval of the agreement.
CBF sees this as a win-win for the river, the
wildlife that depend on it, the residents who
recreate in and on it, and the future generations who will be guaranteed a healthier river.
We thank our partners, including Maryland’s
Department of the Environment, who
assisted in the settlement negotiations.
Sadly, the Fight Continues
In the fall 2015 issue of Save the Bay, we
cheered, reporting, “On July 6, a unanimous
Third Circuit Court of Appeals opinion
upheld a lower court decision that affirmed
the legal standing of the Chesapeake Clean
Water Blueprint, the multi-state effort to
restore good water quality to the Bay and the
rivers and streams throughout the six-state
area that drains into the Bay.”
We noted, however, that the plaintiffs—
The American Farm Bureau Federation, the
National Chicken Council, the Fertilizer
Institute, National Pork Producers Council,
National Turkey Federation, National Corn
Growers Association, and the National
Finally, on November 6, the plaintiffs filed
their formal appeal. The government has one
month to file its case in response, and we
should learn in early 2016 whether the
Supreme Court will hear the case.
CBF believes the agriculture and development
industries need to accept that the Blueprint is
the best hope for restoring the Bay and its
rivers and streams. We further believe the
plaintiffs’ continued resistance in the face of
overwhelming public support stands in stark
contrast to the efforts of thousands of farmers
and homeowners—like those we spotlighted
in our annual report—who have taken action,
often at their own expense to move clean-up
efforts forward. And, we remind the plaintiffs
that fully implementing the Blueprint will not
only restore water quality, implementation
will also return an annual $22 billion in natu-
u CBF thanks you. If you have not already
made your voice heard, you still can. Visit
Who is the American Farm Bureau?
n The American Farm Bureau Federation is the third largest insurer in the
U.S., with annual net profits of over $6.5 billion.
n The American Farm Bureau Federation has over 6 million members and
most are not farmers. Most Farm Bureau members are registered when they
buy Farm Bureau insurance products.
n The American Farm Bureau is against labeling genetically engineered food,
animal welfare reform, and environmental regulation.
n 11 of the Farm Bureau’s 23 legal cases started or continued in 2014 were
Clean Water Act cases.
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