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District Releases Work Plan to Clean Up the Anacostia River

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

CONTACT: Donna Henry (DDOE) 202.299.3338; [email protected]

Effort deemed most Comprehensive for Sediment Clean-up in River’s History

Washington, D.C. – The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) today released its initial plan to help transform the Anacostia River into a fishable and swimmable river by 2032.

The work plan titled, Remedial Investigation of Anacostia River Sediments, is currently available at DDOE’s website, http://ddoe.dc.gov/riworkplan2014,  for the public to review. It will also be published in the DC Federal Register on Friday, January 31, 2014, for a 30-day public comment period.

A critical component of the longer term project known as For a Cleaner Anacostia River, the work plan serves as the primary planning document to guide current remediation efforts. It proposes a comprehensive evaluation plan to assess the degree of contamination found in sediments within the tidal portion of the river and to identify clean up remedies for these environmental contaminants.

DDOE’s Director Keith A. Anderson lauded the Anacostia River cleanup effort, noting its timeliness, importance, and alignment to Mayor Gray’s vision for a cleaner and greener capital city. “We’ve begun a major down payment today on the city’s goal to make the Anacostia River 100% fishable and swimmable by 2032,” said Director Anderson. “This work plan certainly brings much needed resources and more committed action to what some have dubbed the ‘forgotten river.’”

The District’s capital budget includes 41.5 M for Anacostia remediation efforts through FY19. The capital budget for FY14 is $1.5M. DDOE plans to initiate evaluating potential remedies by FY15.

Although restoration efforts on the Anacostia River have been ongoing for 20 years through commitments from groups like Anacostia Watershed Restoration Committee, Anacostia Watershed Toxic Alliance, and other business and environmental groups, the Anacostia River has failed to meet the District’s water quality for being fishable or swimmable. Past studies of the Anacostia River revealed that a good portion of the river has unacceptably high levels of metals, pathogens, chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and Polychorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in the sediments. Waterborne bacteria found in the river can cause human illnesses. And, low levels of dissolved oxygen, which is harmful to fish and aquatic life, impairs sections of the river.

Tetra Tech, an international consulting, engineering, and technical service company has been awarded the general remediation service contract to implement the work plan and other necessary fieldwork.

For more information on the District’s comprehensive Anacostia River effort, For a Cleaner Anacostia River, as well as on its work plan, Remedial Investigation of Anacostia River Sediment, visit http://ddoe.dc.gov/publication/anacostia-river-sediment-project.