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EPA, D.C., Maryland Propose Regulatory Limits on Trash Dumping in the Anacostia

Release Date: 04/23/2010
Contact Information: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548

(PHILADELPHIA) April 23, 2010 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the District of Columbia, and the state of Maryland today announced a new Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) or “pollution diet” for trash in the Anacostia River. This makes the Anacostia only the second river in the country with a daily trash limit, and the first in the mid-Atlantic region.

Each year, hundreds of tons of trash and debris are washed into the Anacostia from stormwater runoff, not only creating a nuisance and an eyesore, but endangering birds, fish and other wildlife that ingest or become entangled in the debris.

“Today’s action builds on the grass-roots efforts by local D.C. communities, which are transforming the Anacostia into a treasured community centerpiece,” said Shawn M. Garvin, EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator. “One of EPA’s top priorities is partnering with communities, as well as state and local governments in making our urban rivers attractive places for recreation, education, and economic revitalization.”

The federal Clean Water Act directs states to develop “pollution diets” for impaired water bodies, such as the Anacostia River. A TMDL establishes the amount of a pollutant, in this case trash, that a water body can assimilate without exceeding water quality standards. TMDLs provide the basis for establishing water quality-based controls, reducing pollution from both point and nonpoint sources and restoring the quality of water resources.

The District and Maryland both included the Anacostia River on their respective list of impaired waters due to excessive quantities of trash and debris in 2006. To complement this TMDL, the District and Maryland are developing innovative storm water permits for municipalities.
The District Department of Environment, and Maryland Department of Environment along with members of several non-governmental organizations have worked collaboratively with EPA to develop this draft trash TMDL for the Anacostia River. The agencies will be receiving comments from the public through May 18, 2010.

An electronic copy of the draft TMDL is available by visiting:

MDE Website:
DDOE Website:,a,1210,q,494609,ddoeNav,|31007|.asp

In addition, DDOE, MDE and EPA will be holding a public meeting to answer questions and discuss the contents of the draft TMDL report. All are welcome to attend. The meeting will be held at:

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
Suite 300
777 North Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
1st Floor Training Center
Thursday, May 6, 2010, 1:00-3:00 pm