PRKN Joins State of Maryland in Fight Over Raw Sewage Discharges Polluting Oyster Beds

St. Mary’s County’s Wastewater Discharges Violate Clean Water Act, Pollute Oyster Beds, and Harm Watermen and the General Public

Washington, DC – January 5 – Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN) has joined the State of Maryland in its lawsuit against St. Mary’s County’s Metropolitan Commission (MetCom) to request an injunction ordering MetCom to cease sewage overflows from its sanitary sewer system and to perform necessary corrective action for persistent and illegal discharges of raw sewage from its wastewater treatment plant into the Potomac River and its tributaries, PRKN President Nancy Stoner announced today.

Said Stoner, “Last year, PRKN notified MetCom and the State that it intended to sue MetCom over these illegal discharges into area waters, which have been occurring for the last five years.  MetCom’s sewage spills have sent raw sewage streaming into surface waters and storm drains, exposing the public to serious health risks, including  contaminated oyster beds with sewage.  We look forward to working with the State to end these ongoing and illegal spills.” 

Dean Naujoks, Potomac Riverkeeper, added, “We were pleased that our notice of intent to sue prompted Maryland to take enforcement action to stop these repeated and illegal sewage spills.  These sewage spills endanger the public and harm the marine environment by exposing aquatic life to pathogens and toxic pollutants. These spills could have been avoided had MetCom properly maintained and operated its wastewater system.”

Maryland’s lawsuit was filed in early December 2022 after PRKN gave notice of its intention to sue in October.

PRKN is joined in its action by Shore Thing Shellfish, LLC, a commercial shellfish company harmed by MetCom’s sewage spills.  Brian Russell, co-owner and operator of Shore Thing Shellfish, said, “We all want a cleaner bay which is why we started an oyster farm in 2011.”

Naujoks concluded, “The residents of St. Mary’s County should not be at risk of illness from illegal discharges of sewage from municipal treatment plants.  Clean water is a fundamental public right.”

PRKN and Shore Thing Shellfish are represented by Van Ness Feldman LLC, a law firm specializing in energy, environmental and natural resources law.

About Shore Thing Shellfish

Shore Thing Shellfish started in 2011 with the goal of growing quality sustainable oysters using the most environmentally friendly practices possible and is continuing Maryland’s traditional waterman heritage, yet making it sustainable, actually “restorable”. 

For more information, visit the website.

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