Report Calls Anacostia River Foul

Recommends Federal Government Pitch in on Cleanup

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Megan McGrath/WRC

    The Anacostia River, the long-time collector of trash, industrial toxins, and all sorts of other manmade wastes, is not a healthy body of water.

    That's what DC Appleseed says in their new report, titled 'A New Day for the Anacostia.'

    According to the community advocacy group, if residents are serious about cleaning up the Anacostia River, the current regulations and plans in place just don't hold water.

    The number one source of new pollution in the river comes from stormwater runoff.  Rain falls on parking lots and roadways that are covered with oils and bacteria.  Those kinds of hard concrete or asphalt surfaces don't allow the ground to absorb, so contaminants sluice right into the river.  Those storm flows also cause erosion on the river's banks.  According to D.C. Appleseed, runoff is the chief stress on the river system.

    A major source of pollution that goes largely unaddressed by river cleanup plans are the "legacy" toxics embedded in the river's sediments.  Since the Civil War, industrial waste from the government and commercial business has flowed into the Anacostia.  The Navy Yard, where weapons have been manufactured for national defense for two centuries, was cited as a prime offender.

    The report says that since the federal government played a prime role in the dirtying of the Anacostia waterway, they should put in some big chips to clean it up.  One suggestion is for the federal government to match local river cleanup dollars on a 2 to 1 basis.  Another suggestion calls for local jurisdictions to come up with a common stormwater management plan, that would include installing more permeable pavement.

    If you want to read the entire report, it is available here.