Anacostia Riverkeeper files complaint against PEPCO for heavy metal pollution

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 12:46pm

 

 Washington, D.C., March 29, 2016 - On March 28, 2016 attorneys for Anacostia Riverkeeper, a local advocacy organization working to protect and restore the Anacostia River, filed a complaint in the current civil enforcement action taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency against PEPCO for Clean Water Act violations. The federal government charged PEPCO with illegally discharging hundreds of pounds of toxic heavy metals for over five years into the Anacostia River at its Benning Road facility. These toxic metals include copper, zinc, iron and lead. For a copy of the complaint, click here.

 

Anacostia Riverkeeper notified EPA that it would take action to stop these violations in September 2015 when it filed a Notice of Intent to Sue under the Act. These unlawful discharges are ongoing and continuous, and involve dangerous toxic metals that violate PEPCO’s permit for at least the past five years. For a copy of the Notice of Intent, click here. 

 

PEPCO’s extensive history of ongoing illegal discharges into the Anacostia River pose unacceptable risks of adverse health effects which threaten all users, including subsistence fishermen and casual visitors, while severely delaying progress toward clean up and restoration of this vital and historic watershed. District of Columbia and Maryland agencies have warned for years that local fisherman and their families should avoid eating fish caught from the Anacostia River because of toxic pollutants. The pollutants in the river accumulate in the tissue of the fish. Despite the risks and warnings, an estimated 17,000 people regularly eat fish taken from the Anacostia River. 

Anacostia Riverkeeper is deeply alarmed that EPA and the DC Government tolerated these violations by PEPCO for so many years. “It is unfortunate that it has taken several years and the force of legal action against Pepco by Anacostia Riverkeeper, for EPA to step up and take notice of PEPCO’s continued disregard for the law. We will continue to hold both EPA and PEPCO accountable for upholding the Clean Water Act and advocate for the health of our citizens and the environment.” Emily Franc, Anacostia Riverkeeper 

 

Anacostia Riverkeeper is an advocacy organization working to protect and restore the Anacostia River for all who live, work, and play in the watershed. Anacostia Riverkeeper is a member of Waterkeepers Chesapeake, a coalition of the full-time Waterkeepers that span the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (MD, PA, VA, and DC). With our fellow Waterkeepers in the Chesapeake Bay Region, we protect families by stopping pollution. Anacostia Riverkeeper is also a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, an international grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to preserving and protecting water bodies from pollution. 

 

For further information please contact: Emily Franc at 202-863-0158 or riverkeeper@anacostiariverkeeper.org