The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its allies are taking legal action to stop pollution from a water filtration plant in Montgomery County, Maryland, that has released more than 27 million pounds of sediment and nearly 1.4 million pounds of aluminum into the Potomac River over the last four years.
Yesterday, CBF and the Environmental Integrity Project, on behalf of the Potomac Riverkeeper, filed a notice of intent to sue the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) for the water pollution violations at the Potomac Water Filtration Plant in Seneca, Maryland.
The plant treats drinking water for residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. But it also discharges about eight million gallons of wastewater per day into the Potomac River just upstream from the Great Falls National Park. The plant’s permit expired 11 years ago, but it continues to release millions of gallons of sediment pollution and aluminum directly into the river instead of treating the waste or disposing of the waste properly offsite.
“The sediment being discharged, in violation of permit limits, is damaging the health of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay,” said Christine Tramontana, CBF Litigation Counsel. “The goal of this action is to push WSSC to upgrade its facility, stop unpermitted discharges, and ensure accurate monitoring."
Eric Schaefer, Executive Director of the Environmental Integrity Project, said: “Plant records indicate that over the past four years, the Potomac River filtration plant has discharged enough sediment and aluminum into the river below Seneca to fill more than 1,400 ten ton dump trucks.”
He added that WSSC should be able to deliver drinking water to local residents without “clouding the Potomac with mud and metals.”
To read the entire notice, click here.
By Tom Pelton
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
(Photo at top of generic water pollution, not from the WSSC plant, from the Chesapeake Bay Program.)