industrial pollution

MAJOR POLLUTERS: “Major Polluters” are how we categorize the biggest polluters in the Potomac Watershed that discharge directly into our waterways through a pipe. They include power plants, waste-water and drinking water treatment plants, coal-ash storage facilities, industrial and manufacturing facilities, and chemical storage and transportation.

POSITION: Facilities that discharge into the Potomac Watershed should be in compliance with legal pollution limits, and our regulatory agencies should take every opportunity to reduce the discharges coming from these sources.

OBJECTIVE: Protect water quality by ensuring that these facilities are in compliance with their permitted pollution limits and that regulatory agencies create and enforce responsible discharge limits.

Steps to Solutions:

  • COMPLIANCE SWEEPS: Find facilities which are violating their discharge permits.
  • TIERED LETTERS: Communicate repeatedly with facilities in violation of their permit to ensure progress toward clean water.
  • LITIGATION: We are willing to take polluters to court when they are otherwise unwilling to eliminate their pollution problems.

Projects

  • Big Springs Filtration Plant & Firefighting Chemical Contamination

    EPA issued a lifetime health advisory (LHA) in 2016 that gave a limit of 70 parts per trillion for PFOS and PFOAs, two chemicals commonly used in firefighting foam and sometimes found in drinking water. While this advisory does not set legally enforceable standards, it is typically used by public

  • Toxic Wastewater Discharges from Coal Power Plants

    EPA’s 2015 “Effluent Limitation Guideline” Rule was developed to deal with the discharge of toxic metals and other pollutants removed from coal plants’ air emissions in response to more protective air pollution standards issued over a decade ago. The same metals that were being “scrubbed” from coal plant smokestacks were

  • Safe Disposal of Coal Ash at Possum Point Campaign

    UPDATE: Coal Ash Disposal Assessment presented at State Water Commission Dec 4th meeting. Move Your Ash Rally immediately following the meeting. PRKN is using litigation and grassroots political outreach to push for a full cleanup of Possum Point’s coal ash pollution, investigation of Dominion’s handling of coal ash, and the

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    NRG Dickerson Power Plant

    In 2013, Potomac Riverkeeper, Patuxent Riverkeeper and Food & Water Watch filed a notice of intent to sue to NRG. NRG operates coal powered generating stations at Chalk Point on the Patuxent River and at Dickerson on the Potomac River. One of our main concerns was that NRG tried to

  • Upper Potomac River Commission (UPRC) Wastewater Treatment Plant

    UPRC operates under permits which allow for discharges that exceed normal TMDL’s (a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards) through the use of “mixing zones”. UPRC’s mixing zones emit discharges directly into a section of the river

  • West Virginia’s Weak Discharge Permits Into the Maryland Owned Potomac River

    Facilities in West Virginia that discharge pollution into the [Maryland-owned] Potomac River often follow much weaker standards than their Maryland counterpart. For example, many permits do not require daily monitoring for TMDLS’s (total maximum discharge limits), allowing much higher amounts of pollutants to enter the water as would otherwise be

  • Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC)

    In 2014, our attorneys at Environmental Integrity Project filed a lawsuit against the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) for illegal discharges of millions of pounds aluminum and Total Suspended Solids exceeding permitted limits. On October 21, 2015, WSSC elected to enter into a binding legal agreement with Potomac Riverkeeper, the State

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    Marlowe Towne Center Wastewater Treatment Facility

    The Marlowe Towne Center Waste Water Treatment Facility, part of the Berkeley County Public Service Sewer District of Martinsburg, WV, has been discharging pollutants, including fecal coliform, zinc and sediment into the Falling Waters area of the Potomac River. The facility was initially identified as a facility of interest in

  • George’s Chicken Processing Plant

    George’s Chicken Processing Plant in Harrisonburg, VA, is home to a wastewater treatment facility with a biological nutrient removal (BNR) system. However, this BNR sytem has had repeated collapses, resulting in high ammonia discharges and violations of annual nutrient dischage permit levels. We entered discussions with George’s Chicken and the state to

  • Ox Paperboard Lawsuit

    A 100 year old small privately owned paper plant in West Virginia had been experiencing problem discharges for over 2 decades. After filing a Clean Water Act lawsuit in 2011, we entered a consent decree that mandated that the facility implement upgrades designed to bring it into full compliance and