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A Cleaner Future for the Anacostia River

One of the dirtiest rivers in the nation finally has a chance to recover from years of pollution.


One of America's Dirtiest Rivers

When the Supreme Court denied a petition by the Washington, D.C. Water and Sewer Authority that would have overturned weak caps on pollution into the Anacostia River, they set in motion what will hopefully be a cleaner, healthier future for this waterbody. The Anacostia has been described as one of the dirtiest rivers in America.

Daily Means Every Day

Last year, a lower court ruled against EPA reasoning that pollution caps, referred to as Total Maximum Daily Loads, could be averaged annually or seasonally. This averaging would have failed to clean up the river. The court wrote a strong opinion stating that "'Daily' connotes 'every day'." EPA was being told to clean up the river according to the law.

A Cleaner Future

This recent denial of WASA's appeal means the Anacostia River has a chance to be brought back from a polluted mess to a river that truly reflects the beauty of our nation's capital. D.C. residents, visitors and workers may someday once again be able to spend leisurely hours fishing and swimming in the Anacostia, a natural setting within an urban environment.

Office:  Washington, DC
Program Area:  Healthy Communities
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