UNITED STATES
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 1974
EPA SEEKS COURT ACTION TO PREVENT DUMPING OF SEWAGE IN POTOMAC
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today took legal
action to protect the public health from the discharge of un-
treated sewage into the Potomac River.
The agency asked the Justice Department.to seek a restrain-
ing order preventing the District of Columbia-, Fairfax County,
Virginia, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, Maryland,
Montgomery County and Prince Georges County from interfering
with the disposal of sludge from the Blue Plains Treatment Plant
in the District of Columbia.
The Agency also asked that the jurisdiction designate sites
within two days for the disposal of the 310 tons of sludge
generated daily from Blue Plains.
The Justice Department today filed a motion for a restrain-
ing order in the Federal District Court in D.C.
The problem of the disposal of the sludge resulted from a
Prince Georges County court injunction that forbids the hauling
of sludge across the county.
Limited sludge storage capacity at Blue Plains would force
D.C. to cease treating the sewage and bypass it into the river
untreated.
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EPA FORM 1510-1 (REV. 8-72)
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A private firm had been hauling the sludge across the county
to Andrews Air Force Base for dumping.
Russell E. Train, EPA Administrator, said he could invoke
Section 504 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments
of 1972 to keep the sewage from being discharged into the river
untreated.
This section allows EPA to seek a restraining order to stop
pollution immediately when there is imminent and substantial
endangerment to the public health and welfare.
Daniel J. Snyder, EPA Region III Administrator of Phila-
delphia, said,"The Prince Georges County action forced EPA's
hand. Until Prince Georges County enjoined the issuance of a
transport permit, everyone was well on the way to working out
an agreement."
Snyder still hopes Maryland, Virginia and the Federal
Government can come to agreement on the resolution of the D.C.
sewage problem.
EPA's legal initiative was supported by Virginia, Maryland,
and D.C. governments.
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