PRKN Sues Alexandria for Violations of Federal Environmental Law

Unlawful Discharge of Coal Tar Pollutants from Oronoco Street Outfall Contributes to Imminent and Substantial Endangerment to Human Health and Environment

Washington, D.C. – May 10 – Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN) yesterday filed a lawsuit in federal court against the City of Alexandria for its continued discharges of toxic coal tar waste into the Potomac River, violations of the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Phillip Musegaas, PRKN’s Vice President for Programs and Litigation said, “Potomac Riverkeeper’s investigation reveals that the Outfall has been illegally discharging coal tar and creosote wastes into the Potomac River on a continuous basis since at least 1975.  Many of these pollutants are classified as probable human carcinogens.  Documents prepared on behalf of the City acknowledge that concentrations detected near the Outfall site are a potential danger to marine and aquatic organisms and the animals that feed on them.”

Dean Naujoks, Potomac Riverkeeper, was instrumental in conducting the investigation which uncovered this long standing pollution.  He said, “Since at least 1975, these wastes have migrated from the Alexandria Gas Company site to the Outfall storm sewer pipe and have been discharged into the Potomac River, where they are present in the surface water and sediments.  The location is particularly troubling because the Outfall lies adjacent to Founders Park, a recreational area used by many Alexandria residents and the River is frequently used for kayaking, paddling, and recreational fishing by the general public. The City’s effort to eliminate these discharges has been too slow, too limited, and has failed to stop the imminent and substantial danger.”

Potomac Riverkeeper Network is seeking a court order requiring the City to immediately abate the continued discharge of coal tar and creosote wastes and to characterize and remediate the full extent of the contamination it created in the Potomac River.


About Potomac Riverkeeper Network

Potomac Riverkeeper Network is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization with three regional Waterkeeper branches: Potomac Riverkeeper, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, and Shenandoah Riverkeeper. Our mission is to protect the public’s right to clean water in the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and their tributaries. We stop pollution to enhance the safety of our drinking water, protect healthy river habitats, and enhance public use and enjoyment.