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For a Cleaner Anacostia River

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

In launching the project, For a Cleaner Anacostia River, the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) has taken the lead in transforming the Anacostia River into a fishable and swimmable river by 2032. This important project aligns with Mayor Gray’s overall vision for a cleaner, greener and sustainable capital city. To fulfill these long-term goals, DDOE has approved a $41.5 million budget for Anacostia remediation efforts through fiscal year 2019.

To start the project, a work plan has been prepared that serves as the primary planning document to guide the remedial investigation. The work plan proposes a comprehensive evaluation to assess the degree of contamination found in sediments within the tidal portion of the river. The work plan will help examine potential remedies or clean up options to address these environmental contaminants. Field activity is scheduled to begin in late May 2014.

Restoration efforts on the Anacostia River have been ongoing for 20 years through groups like Anacostia Watershed Restoration Committee, Anacostia Watershed Toxic Alliance, and other business and environmental groups. However, the Anacostia River is not swimmable and fishing is highly regulated and limited. Past studies of the river revealed that a good portion of the river has unacceptably high levels of metals, pathogens, bacteria, pesticides, herbicides, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and other chemicals in the sediments. Waterborne bacteria found in the river can cause human illnesses and low levels of dissolved oxygen, which harms fish and aquatic life and 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 any other necessary fieldwork.

Currently, cleanup work is underway at multiple locations on the lower Anacostia River.  At most of these sites, the cleanup will address the portion of sediments within a defined area around the site. This SOW will build on the work already underway at these sites.  The links to the websites associated with few of these projects are provided below:

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