Decades of Alleged Pollution Leads to Largest Environmental Settlement in D.C. History

  • District of Columbia AG Brian L. Schwalb settled with Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) for $57 million, the largest environmental settlement in D.C. history, to resolve allegations that the energy company released toxic pollution into the Anacostia River system in violation of CERCLA and D.C. environmental laws.
  • According to AG Schwalb’s complaints—filed in both federal and local court—PEPCO discharged pollutants from its facilities and electrical distribution system into groundwater and storm sewers that eventually fed into the Anacostia. The AG alleges that the persistent pollution of the river for decades led to “no swimming” bans and fishing advisories, and deprived D.C. residents of a public natural resource.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, PEPCO must pay $10 million in civil penalties and $47 million towards cleanup of the Anacostia River, costs which it is prohibited from passing on to ratepayers. In addition to the monetary payments, PEPCO is required to investigate and assess the risks of contamination posed by its facilities and pay for required cleanup.
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