POTOMAC RIVER WATERSHED CLEANUP AT RILEY'S LOCK

Potomac River Cleanup at Riley’s Lock

Recap from Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative’s Hannah Seligmann. The Potomac River offers fun, healthy and educational adventures. This weekend I was able to pay it forward by participating in the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s 27th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup! On April 11th, the foundation led more than 130 cleanups across the Potomac River Watershed. … Read More

38 New Facilities Found to be in Violation of Permits in Upper Potomac

The Clean Water Act established a national framework for setting clean water standards and regulations in practice that would protect our rivers and streams and their use for drinking, fishing, swimming and boating. To do this effectively, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting scheme was created. Although the NPDES system has not met … Read More

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Meet Your Potomac Riverkeeper: Dean Naujoks

Dean Naujoks joins our team as our new Potomac Riverkeeper, allowing us another opportunity to extend programmatic energies on the ground. For the first time in our history, we now have a full-time Potomac Riverkeeper to complete many of the core functions a Riverkeeper serves. Dean will increase our capacity to expand community outreach and … Read More

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ACHIEVE CLEAN 2015

Achieve Clean was first introduced to the public eye in early December as part of our annual fundraising campaign and featured selected Top Threats by each of our three Riverkeeper branches. Through your generousity, we exceeded our goal to raise $100,000 by December 31st! You went out of your way to call, mail in donations, … Read More

2015 BENEFIT CONCERT AT THE HAMILTON LIVE

2015 Benefit Concert at The Hamilton Live

Another year, another fantastic concert for clean water! Each year we partner up with local bands at the Hamilton Live for a night of live music, great food, and a good cause. This year Spirit Family Reunion and The 19th Street Band gave a spectacular performance in front of 200 cheering fans, filling the Hamilton … Read More

Press Release

Clean Water Advocates Petition for Better Controls on Virginia Factory Farm Pollution

Virginia has more than 100 large chicken and hog factory farm operations, but not one has a required federal Clean Water Act water pollution control permit that would reduce runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.

The Environmental Integrity Project, the Assateague Coastal Trust, Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper, Potomac Riverkeeper, Shenandoah Riverkeeper, and Waterkeepers Chesapeake  petitioned the U.S, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday to assume control over Virginia’s water pollution control program because of the Commonwealth’s failure to develop and implement a Clean Water Act permitting program for factory farms.

These large livestock enterprises often have thousands of chickens and hogs packed into what are called Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). CAFOs produce hundreds of millions of pounds of manure that contribute significant amounts of nutrient runoff to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. In turn, the manure runoff causes dangerous algae blooms and creates dead zones in which aquatic life cannot survive.

“To restore the health of the Bay, EPA needs to enforce Clean Water Act requirements – on the books since 1972 – that require permits and pollution controls for big animal feeding operations,” said Eric V. Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Environmental Integrity Project.

Agriculture is the single largest source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, according to EPA. In Virginia, farms contribute 15 million pounds per year of nitrogen pollution in the Bay, and 2 million pounds of phosphorus – with much of this problem coming from poultry operations on the Eastern Shore and in the Shenandoah Valley. As of 2010, Virginia had approximately 898 animal feeding operations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, 116 of which were large CAFOs, according to EPA.

The federal Clean Water Act requires that states issue water pollution control permits to all CAFOs that discharge pollution, but Virginia has not met this requirement. Unlike Maryland, which has issued CAFO permits to most of its factory farms, Virginia has yet to issue a single federal permit. Additionally, the permitting program that Virginia has proposed would allow the state to issue CAFO permits without state regulators or the public being able to review the full federally required nutrient management plans.

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Mixing Zones: Why we shouldn’t have them

Mixing zones present a great visual example of how discharges directly impact the look, feel, and biological integrity of rivers. Many fisherman, fishing guides, and recreational boaters in the Upper Potomac who have come in contact with Westernport, Maryland’s wastewater treatment plant’s mixing zone have concerns over the impact it has on their use and … Read More