I’m writing to urge you to send an email to the Mayor and City Council of the City of Alexandria to demand action on a serious public health problem.
WHY: Alexandria, Virginia is dumping 70 million gallons of raw sewage and polluted stormwater into the Potomac River each year. And City Council has decided not to do anything about it for 15 years. Alexandria has an antiquated sewer system that combines polluted stormwater with household sewage. During heavy rain events, the system is overwhelmed and discharges raw sewage as well as pet waste, fertilizers and trash from storm drains directly into the Potomac River near Old Town, violating federal Clean Water Act requirements and posing a serious risk to public health. Earlier this year, the swimming segment of the Nation’s Triathlon was cancelled due to high levels of E-Coli in the Potomac River.
Despite being one of the wealthiest cities in Virginia, Alexandria is failing to invest in upgrades to its sewer system to solve this problem. Instead, the city is actively working to obtain state permits that would allow it to continue dumping millions of gallons of sewage-contaminated stormwater into “Our Nation’s River” for decades to come. In contrast, Richmond and Lynchburg are implementing infrastructure fixes to address their sewage discharges. If Richmond and Lynchburg can do it, why can’t Alexandria? This degradation of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay must stop.
WHEN: Now! In August of 2016, Alexandria submitted an update to its EPA-mandated Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Alexandria’s draft plan seeks to “store and treat” roughly half of the 140 million gallons per year of sewage-contaminated stormwater the city discharges from four discharge pipes (outfalls) into the Potomac River and its tributaries.
Unfortunately, Alexandria is requesting permission to continue to discharge at least 70 million gallons of sewage-contaminated stormwater into the Potomac River for at least another 15 years. The city has ignored requests from city residents, state legislators, and numerous organizations to eliminate this illegal and harmful sewage dumping from its largest discharge point (Outfall 001) located at the Alexandria waterfront in Oronoco Bay, where anglers and boaters, including the TC Williams High School Crew Team, frequently use the river.
Yet, the Virginia DEQ currently has no plans to require a public hearing or allow the public to comment on Alexandria’s controversial final draft LTCP.
- Tell Alexandria City Council to revise its Long Term Control Plan to comply with the federal Clean Water Act and protect public health by eliminating all untreated sewage and stormwater discharges from Outfall 001into the Potomac River!
- Tell Alexandria to allocate Capital Funds from its FY 2018 Budget and develop a stormwater utility fee to re-allocate financial resources to stop sewage contaminated stormwater from being dumped into the Potomac River.
HOW: Send a letter directly to the Mayor and City Council TODAY!