Maryland to limit trash dumping in the Anacostia
The United States Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), the District of Columbia, and the state of Maryland
announced a new Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) or “pollution
diet” for trash in the Anacostia River. This makes the Anacostia
only the second river in the country with a daily trash limit,
and the first in the mid-Atlantic region.
Each year, hundreds of tons of trash and debris are washed into
the Anacostia from stormwater runoff, not only creating a nuisance
and an eyesore, but endangering birds, fish and other wildlife
that ingest or become entangled in the debris.
The federal Clean Water Act directs states to develop “pollution
diets” for impaired water bodies, such as the Anacostia River.
A TMDL establishes the amount of a pollutant, in this case trash,
that a water body can assimilate without exceeding water quality
standards. TMDLs provide the basis for establishing water quality-based
controls, reducing pollution from both point and nonpoint sources
and restoring the quality of water resources.
The District and Maryland both included the Anacostia River on
their respective list of impaired waters due to excessive quantities
of trash and debris in 2006. To complement this TMDL, the District
and Maryland are developing innovative storm water permits for
The District Department of Environment, and Maryland Department
of Environment along with members of several non-governmental
organizations have worked collaboratively with EPA to develop
this draft trash TMDL for the Anacostia River.