Environmental Consent Decree
Pepco has always conducted its operations in compliance with environmental regulations, which have evolved over time. However, these operations over the years may have impacted environmental conditions at the site.
Pepco's Benning Service Center is one of six publicly and privately owned sites along the Anacostia River that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) have identified as potential sources of pollutants impacting the river. An inspection by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that some contaminants from historical operations appear to have migrated from the Benning Service Center site to the shoreline and sediments of the adjacent Anacostia River. The Anacostia is a valuable resource for the District of Columbia and its residents, and Pepco is committed to doing its part to support the efforts of the DDOE, the EPA, local environmental groups and D.C. residents to restore the river's environmental health.
In January 2011, Pepco and DDOE signed a Consent Decree that detailed Pepco's agreement to evaluate environmental conditions at the Benning Service Center site and adjacent portions of the Anacostia River. Pepco will perform this evaluation (known as a "Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study"), with DDOE's oversight. The first part of the evaluation will investigate conditions at the Site and adjacent shoreline areas and river sediments to determine if historical operations at the site have contributed to contamination of river sediments, and to assess any impacts to human health and the environment from existing conditions at the site and adjacent portions of the river. The final phase of the evaluation will identify options for addressing contamination within the study area for consideration by DDOE.
DDOE made the Consent Decree available for public comment and DDOE and Pepco agreed to revise the Consent Decree in July 2011 in response to the comments received. Thereafter, the Consent Decree was submitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for approval. After a hearing to consider whether the Consent Decree was fair, reasonable and in the public interest, the Court issued an order on Dec. 1, 2011, approving the Consent Decree.
While the Consent Decree was under review by the Court, Pepco hired a nationally recognized environmental engineering firm, AECOM, to begin preparatory work on the evaluation. Because of this preliminary work, done in accordance with EPA standards and in consultation with the DDOE, Pepco was able submit the first planning documents to DDOE for review on Dec. 22, 2011, more than a month ahead of the schedule specified in the Consent Decree.
We understand that our customers and neighbors near our Benning Service Center have a particular interest in what happens there. We will keep the community informed as the evaluation proceeds. As Pepco President Thomas Graham has said, "we remain committed to open dialogue with neighbors, customers and other stakeholders, and will keep the public informed regarding this very important issue."
Pepco is proud of our active cooperation with DDOE as we work toward the common goal of a cleaner Anacostia River that can reclaim its past identity as a treasured environmental and recreational resource within the District's urban environment. "I expect that this settlement will inspire others to follow Pepco's example, and do their part in returning this important asset to the community," said D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.