Stopping Alexandria Sewage Overflow Campaign
Alexandria Receives State Approval to Proceed with Long Overdue Stormwater and Sewer System Upgrades
The Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has signed off on Alexandria’s plan to reduce stormwater and sewer outfalls flowing into the Potomac River, a major coup for PRKN. The plan will reduce pollution by more than 95 percent. When this plan is implemented, the raw sewage that has been flowing into the Potomac River […]
We filed comments regarding the City of Alexandria’s revised Long Term Control Plan submission to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Consistent with our statements at recent public meetings, we support the City’s Option B+ plan for significantly reducing discharges of untreated sewage and polluted stormwater from the city’s combined sewer system (CSO). While we support the City’s Plan, […]
Alexandria Required to Stop Dumping Sewage in Potomac River by 2025. “By signing into law a bill requiring the city of Alexandria to make long overdue repairs to its outdated sewer infrastructure by 2025, Governor McAuliffe has set a firm but reasonable deadline for ending Alexandria’s 200 year history of dumping raw sewage into our […]
Like Washington D.C., the historic downtown section of Alexandria uses a combined sewer system that dumps untreated sewage and stormwater into Hunting Creek and the Potomac River nearly every time it rains, resulting in millions of gallons of sewage containing E.coli and other pathogens flowing into our waterways every year. Under a new Clean Water Act permit issued by Virginia, Alexandria must develop a plan to reduce the sewage pollution by 2016. The city begun a public outreach campaign as it develops a list of potential approaches to reduce sewage overflows, including building storage tunnels, using green infrastructure such as green roofs, and separating the sewage and stormwater pipes. Beginning in 2015, we actively engaged with the city to make sure that its long term plan to reduce these toxic overflows will lead to real improvements in water quality in the future. Our goal is to return the Potomac River to the “fishable, swimmable” waterway envisioned and required by the Clean Water Act.
The city developed a Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to deal with combined sewer and stormwater overflows at outfalls 002, 003, 004 discharging into Hunting Creek. Developing a solution for outfall 001 that discharges directly into Oronoco Bay was delayed to future years. Outfall 001 discharges roughly half of Alexandria’s sewage laden stormwater into the Potomac River – approximately 70 million gallons a year – where people paddle, wade fish and frequently recreate. In the fall of 2016, we conducted outreach to the community, encouraged community engagement to urge the city to act on outfall 001, and supported legislation that would expedite Alexandria’s plan for outfall 001.
At the end of 2016, PRKN submitted formal comments to Virginia’s DEQ regarding the City of Alexandria’s effort to address untreated sewage pollution emanating from its antiquated “Combined Sewer System” into the Potomac River and nearby tributaries. PRKN is calling on Virginia DEQ to hold a public hearing and invite formal public comment on Alexandria’s illegal and inadequate plan, which fails to address a discharge point near Old Town which dumps about 70 million gallons of raw sewage and polluted stormwater into the river each year. PRKN’s review of water quality testing done by Alexandria in Oronoco Bay, the location of this dumping into the Potomac, reveals that 51% of the City’s samples showed fecal bacteria at unsafe levels in the river, rendering the Potomac frequently unsafe for human contact.