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Washington Gas Enters Into Anacostia River Consent Decree with District and Federal Governments

Monday, December 12, 2011
Settlement Calls for Washington Gas to Clean up DC Property on Anacostia River

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The federal government, in partnership with the District of Columbia, today reached agreement on a negotiated settlement with the Washington Gas Light Company (Washington Gas) that addressed operations at the company’s former facility, resulting in Anacostia riverfront contamination at a District-owned property, located below Water Street SE, near the 11th Street Bridge.

The consent decree requires Washington Gas to remove contaminated soil and to continue to collect and treat contaminated groundwater, as well as investigate whether there is any further impact of contamination on the Anacostia River. Additionally, Washington Gas will pay for all the costs of the soil removal and the further investigation, including both District and federal government costs in ensuring that the work is done properly and safely. The remediation of this property will be at zero cost to the taxpayers and is a key step in cleaning up the Anacostia River.

“This is a historic settlement that demonstrates our commitment to correcting a legacy of contamination along the banks of the Anacostia,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray.  “It is important that companies are held accountable for any contamination, and I applaud the parties for bringing us one important step closer to a cleaner Anacostia our residents and visitors want and deserve.”  Undertakings of this complexity involving multiple parties can often take several years. However, in this case, the parties were able to reach a settlement in thirteen months.   The speed at which this settlement was reached is indicative of the level of cooperation between the various agencies and of the shared commitment to restoring the Anacostia River, the Mayor added.

The District of Columbia, through the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), is working with numerous federal agencies to implement the terms of the settlement.  Federal agencies included the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior Solicitor’s Office, the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers.

DDOE is also working with several District agencies, including the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, the Department of Public Works, and the District Department of Transportation to coordinate the work that will be done at the contaminated site.

“It always takes shared responsibility and commitment to restore a sensitive environment like our Anacostia River, and that is what this settlement represents,” said DDOE Director Christophe A.G. Tulou. “The important thing is that we all understand the value of a healthy environment and we are stepping forward to take responsibility and playing a role in creating a brighter future for our city.”

The District has owned the site since 2008.  Prior to that, it was owned by the federal government.  Tulou said remediation is expected to provide public access to the River and general recreational activities.

The consent decree will be made available for a 60-day public comment period, effective the date notice is published in the Federal Register.  At the conclusion of the public comment period, the parties will evaluate all comments received, and then may move to enter the consent decree as a final court order.


Doxie McCoy (EOM) (202)-727-5011

Donna Henry (DDOE) (202) 299-3338