DC WASA recognized for efforts to improve Anacostia

April 21, 2009
The Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) acknowledged the leadership of DC Water and Sewer Authority General Manager Jerry N. Johnson in reducing wet weather overflows in the Anacostia from the District's combined sewer system...

• Agency general manager recognized for years of work to control water pollution

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 21, 2009 -- "It's amazing when you can do the right thing and get an award for it," said DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC WASA) General Manager Jerry N. Johnson. The outgoing agency chief received a plaque from the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) acknowledging his leadership in reducing wet weather overflows in the Anacostia from the District's combined sewer system.

The presentation was made by Col. Peter Mueller of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Saturday Apr. 18, 2009 during an Earth Day rally at Bladensburg Waterfront Park for the 15th Annual Anacostia River Clean Up & Earth Day Celebration.

The 176-square-mile Anacostia is a slow-moving waterway that begins in Maryland and flows through the District and into the Potomac River, a tributary feeding the Chesapeake Bay. DC WASA budgeted $196 million for improvements to a number of pumping stations and tide gates and for small sewer separation projects, all to reduce sewer overflows to the Anacostia by approximately 40 percent.

"Although we are extremely proud of this achievement, the road doesn't stop there," Johnson said. "The effort continues with a $2.2 billion DC WASA combined sewer overflow (CSO) program to reduce these wet weather discharges to the Anacostia by a total of 98 percent over the next 15 years. This is a commitment that we've made to correct a long-standing problem in the District of Columbia," explained Johnson.

Also commenting, James Connolly, Executive Director for the Anacostia Watershed Society, said, "We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work with DC WASA on the retrofit of the District's CSOs. Jerry Johnson has done a tremendous job to achieve the reduction to date and in leading the planning and groundwork for the remainder of the projects. These steps are dramatically improving the health of the Anacostia River."

DC WASA also operates two skimmer boats that pick up approximately 400 tons of trash and debris annually from the District's rivers. DC WASA is only one of several partners, including the District and Maryland, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, AWS and a number of environmental organizations, working to make the Anacostia a better river.

"It's this kind of partnership that gets things done," said Johnson. "Let's keep the 'good fight' going." Saturday's rally culminated a half-day Anacostia River cleanup, organized by AWS at 19 sites in the District and Maryland.

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC WASA), is an industry-leading authority of the District government that provides drinking water, wastewater collection and treatment for a population of more than 500,000 in the District of Columbia. DC WASA treats wastewater for a population of 1.6 million in Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland, and Fairfax, and Loudoun counties in Virginia. The Authority operates the world's largest advanced wastewater treatment plant with a capacity of 370 million gallons per day and a peak daily capacity of more than a billion gallons. DC WASA's service area covers approximately 725 square miles