DC area water residuals disposal plan opposed by local community

Community urges Army Corps of Engineers to dump flawed water residuals dumping process, start over. Draft document reveals large number of trucks will travel through neighborhoods...

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Concerned neighbors near the Dalecarlia Water Treatment Facility in upper Northwest Washington, D.C., urged the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and restart its process to find the best and most responsible way to dispose of water treatment residuals from its facility.

On April 14, the Corps filed the DEIS with the EPA and gave citizens 45 days to review it and make comments. The Corps has eliminated virtually every alternative other than the construction of an 80-foot dewatering facility behind Sibley Hospital and trucking dewatered sludge through the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

In a May 9 letter to Thomas Jacobus, general manager of the Washington Aqueduct, concerned neighbors reiterated flaws in the Corps' consideration of alternatives under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and raised questions about the environmental and safety impacts of trucking dewatered residuals, the Corps' preferred way to dispose of water treatment residuals from its facility.

"They have worked on this for more than ten years with almost no public input and suddenly the preferred alternative is trucking. The Corps' process has been a sham, they should throw it out and start over," said Debra Graham, co-president of the Westmoreland Citizens Association.

The community maintains the Corps has failed to meet requirements under the NEPA to consider alternatives and meaningfully involve the community in the process.

The letter points out the inconsistency between the Corps' public statements regarding the level and impact that trucking residuals from the dewatering facility will have on the community and the actual estimates buried in the draft EIS.

"The Corps has publicly stated it would only need to use eight trucks per day, but according to fine print in the draft EIS, up to 132 ten ton trucks could be traveling through our neighborhoods every day," said Rachel Thompson, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) member representative for ANC 3D 04.

The Corps is holding a public meeting on May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church located at 3401 Nebraska Ave. to discuss the plan.

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