EIP Gives Notice of Intent to Sue Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) for Discharging – in less than 4 Years – over 28 Million Pounds of Pollutants into the Potomac River in Violation of the Clean Water Act

November 13, 2013

EIP, on behalf of its client, the Potomac Riverkeeper, has joined Chesapeake Bay Foundation in filing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to sue WSSC for chronic and substantial discharge of sediments and aluminum into two of the nation’s and region’s most cherished waterways —  the Potomac River and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay — from its Potomac Water Filtration Plant (PWFP).

The NOI addresses years of unchecked water pollution stemming from the operation of the water supply plant, which provides drinking water to most of Montgomery and parts of Prince George’s Counties.  The NOI alleges, among other claims, that the plant has discharged and continues to discharge millions of pounds of sediments and aluminum directly into the river instead of treating these wastes, as the long-expired permit requires, and disposing of the remaining wastestream off-site.

WSSC’s plant, located near Seneca, Maryland, has been operating under a 5-year permit, issued in 1997, that expired 11 years ago but has been administratively extended by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).  Available information indicates that the PWFP’s solids treatment unit, which became operational in 2002 and was intended to prevent significant discharges of sediment and aluminum, simply doesn’t work.  More than a decade after the permit expired and the solids treatment unit went online, WSSC and MDE still have not arrived at a fix, prolonging the harm to the river and Bay, including harm to aquatic plant and animal life.

For the press release, click here.

For the Notice of Intent, click here.