Potomac Riverkeeper Calls on Army Corps of Engineers to Halt Illegal Discharges Into Potomac Tributary

Environmental Protection Agency Continuing Investigation

Washington, DC – April 25 – Illegal and unpermitted discharges from the Washington Aqueduct into Little Falls Branch, discovered in early January by Dean Naujoks, Potomac Riverkeeper, and which resulted in a criminal complaint filed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recurred in March and again on Friday, April 22, and Sunday, April 24, Potomac Riverkeeper Network president Nancy Stoner announced today.

Officials from the Army Corps of Engineers which operate the Washington Aqueduct water treatment plant have denied responsibility for any releases from the outfall to Little Falls Branch. Naujoks notified both EPA and DC Department of Energy and Environment after he received new video from an anonymous eyewitness documenting the wastewater releases.

The eyewitness told Naujoks and the EPA Special Agent in charge of the investigation that the discharge had “a brown and muddy look to it.” 

Naujoks said, “The outfall and discharge discovered in January were linked to the Washington Aqueduct drinking water plant. We now have evidence of ongoing waste water releases to Little Falls Branch through an unpermitted outfall. We don’t know what the Corps is discharging to the creek nor does the Corps have a Clean Water Act permit to discharge to Little Falls Branch. This outfall is intended only to discharge trace amounts of stormwater and was certainly not permitted to discharge anything like what was observed multiple times since January 1 of this year. These releases appear to be intentional and illegal and we are determined to make sure these unpermitted discharges are stopped.”


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.