SEWAGE: A combination of human excrement and wastewater that causes bacterial, sediment, and thermal pollution. Sewage most often enters our waterways through Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs), failing septic systems, and wastewater treatment plants illegally discharging. 

POSITION: Tragically, in the 21st century, we still have instances of raw sewage entering our waterways. The release of sewage through aging urban sewer systems is a main reason areas of the Potomac River are closed to swimming. Upgrading our infrastructure (i.e sewage tunnels and treatment facilities) and creating and upholding adequate regulations can help to resolve this major form of pollution.

OBJECTIVE: Work to eliminate examples or raw sewage discharge by pushing municipalities to improve infrastructure and to comply with the Clean Water Act. Identify and take legal action against wastewater treatment plants and cities that discharge sewage illegally.

Steps to Solutions:

  • Appeal inadequete stormwater permits.
  • Advocate for infrastructural improvement plans to resolve major stormwater issues, such as the full implementation of DC’s Long Term Control Plan.
  • Work with companies and government to fix failing commercial septic systems.
  • Take legal action when necessary to resolve illegal raw sewage discharges.


  • Stopping Alexandria Sewage Overflow Campaign

    CAMPAIGN INFORMATION: 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

  • Swimmable Potomac River Campaign

    CAMPAIGN INFORMATION: All of the water bodies covered by the bacteria TMDLs in DC are designated as Class A, meaning they are intended to be clean enough for primary contact recreation uses like swimming and kayaking. For heavily-used aquatic recreation areas, like the DC area, the EPA recommends that water

  • Massanutten Sewage Treatment Plant & Pollution Trading

    CAMPAIGN INFORMATION: Shenandoah Riverkeeper is working to stop nutrient trading and get stricter limits on nutrients from the Massanutten Sewage Treatment Plant to better protect Quail Run, Boone Run, and ultimately, the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. This facility discharges treated wastewater from the ski resort area, including the lodge, restaurants,

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    Marlowe Towne Center Wastewater Treatment Facility

    CAMPAIGN INFORMATION: 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

  • Eliminating Sewage Overflows in DC

    CAMPAIGN INFORMATION: In 2005, the EPA ordered DC Water to implement a Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to reduce or stop combined sewage overflows (CSOs) into DC waterways. This plan included the construction of huge underground holding tunnels designed to prevent raw sewage from entering the Potomac, Anacostia, and Rock