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January 31, 2011

Anacostia River: Cleanup Status at Kenilworth, Washington Gas & Poplar Point Contaminant Sites

Mon Jan 31, 2011 at 06:59:19 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Director, DC Environmental Network

The DC Environmental Network Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists to a BROWN BAG LUNCHEON:


– Dottie Yunger, Anacostia Riverkeeper (moderator)

– Representatives: DC Department of Environment, U.S. Department of Interior, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

– Chris Weiss, Director, DC Environmental Network

– Brent Bolin, Director of Advocacy, Anacostia Watershed Society



EPA has identified six contaminant sites of concern in the Anacostia Watershed—the Washington Navy Yard, Southeast Federal Center, Poplar Point, Kenilworth Landfill, Washington Gas Light and PEPCO Benning Road. These sites are contaminated by a range of toxics, including PCBs (Polyclorinated biphenyls), PAHs (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), and heavy metals—toxics that endanger the health of the river and the communities that live, work, and play nearby. Over the years, clean-up efforts have been sporadic at best.

Meanwhile, the Anacostia River and the people and wildlife that inhabit it suffer. Two- thirds of the brown bullhead catfish, a popular catch for local fisherman, have cancerous lesions and sores. Three of these sites are in census tracts where residents have household incomes of less than $40,000. These economically disadvantaged communities are bearing the brunt of contaminants in the watershed.

There are many DC based environmental organizations that share significant concerns about toxics in the Anacostia River –  Anacostia Riverkeeper, Anacostia Watershed Society, Anacostia Watershed Citizens Advisory Committee, DC Environmental Network, Groundwork Anacostia River and Sierra Club Environmental Justice Program. These groups are working hard to convince decision makers at the local and national level to take transparent and legally enforceable actions to address the contamination at the six sites. On September 1st, 2010, then DC Council Chairman Vincent Gray, Councilmember Marion Barry, Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., and Councilmember Tommy Wells signed a pledge to work towards these same goals.

Mayor Gray, Councilmember's Barry,Thomas & Wells Take Pledge!

Purpose of Our Briefing & Discussion:

The numerous government agencies at the local and federal level play different but important roles in the cleanup, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, District Department of the Environment, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Understanding the roles of these agencies is important to ensuring timely cleanup and informed public participation. In the spirit of the New Year, interested stakeholders from both government and the NGO community will meet to:

– Provide an overview on roles and responsibilities of DC, EPA, and DOI.
– Provide updates on cleanup status for Kenilworth, Washington Gas, and Poplar Point.
– Discuss strategies for improving communication and public participation as cleanups progress.

Anacostia Riverkeeper Dottie Yunger will moderate this first Anacostia River discussion of the year. All are welcome to participate.

DATE: Wednesday, February 23, 2011

TIME: 12:00 NOON to 1:30 PM

PLACE: Global Green USA (offices of Friends of the Earth), 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor. Near Farragut North & McPherson Square Metro Stations


CALL-IN NUMBER: 775-269-3893 When prompted enter 399602

For more information contact Chris Weiss at 202-518-8782.

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