Sanitary Sewer Overflow Consent Decree

Partnering to Protect Clean Water

Working to protect clean water, in July of 2005 WSSC joined U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen, Lieutenant Governor Michael S. Steele and representatives from the Anacostia Watershed SocietyNatural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Audubon Naturalist Society and Friends of Sligo Creek to announce agreement on a multi-year action plan to dramatically minimize, and eliminate where possible, sewage overflows. A sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) is an event where untreated or partially treated wastewater discharges from a sanitary sewer system into the surrounding areas.

The comprehensive plan settles a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in November 2004 on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding overflows in WSSC’s wastewater collection system. We have worked closely with our partners at the federal, state and local levels to develop a proactive plan that will augment our existing efforts to maintain, identify and repair problem areas within our 5,400-mile sewer system. This Consent Decree, similar to many others being enacted throughout the country, will enhance our ability to meet the public health needs of our customers and return clean water to our environment.

All parties agreed to an extension and lodged an amendment to the Consent Decree in November 2015.  On June 29, 2016, the amendment was entered with the court, providing a 6-year extension to the remedial measures deadline.

Please view the following links to learn more about the Consent Decree and our proactive efforts to protect public health and the environment.

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