News Release

Leaders Announce Landmark Regional Wastewater Agreement Which Serves Residents, Preserves Waterways, Supports Growth

May 8, 2013

pictured above: Bradford Seamon, Isiah Leggett, Sharon Bulova and Vincent Gray

Washington, DC – At today’s Council of Governments Board of Directors meeting, top elected and appointed officials from the region’s four largest jurisdictions announced a landmark agreement to support the world’s largest advanced wastewater treatment plant, the Blue Plains plant in Washington, D.C. 

The pact ensures service for 2 million area residents and 18 million annual visitors, cleaner rivers and a healthier Chesapeake Bay, and also supports regional growth and development for the next 40 years. The Council of Governments assisted in the development of the agreement and will support area leaders with its implementation.

“I’m delighted to celebrate this great achievement,” District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray said. “This is so important to our efforts to clean up the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers as well as the Chesapeake Bay. That is all part of what we mean by our Sustainable DC program.”

Mayor Gray was joined in the announcement by Fairfax County Chairman Sharon Bulova, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Firestine, and Bradford Seamon, Prince George’s County Chief Administrative Officer, representing County Executive Rushern Baker.  The four jurisdictions are parties to the Blue Plains Intermunicipal Agreement (IMA) along with two utilities, DC Water and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

Chairman Bulova said the Blue Plains Agreement represents “regionalism at its best.  We sometimes compete and disagree, but we’re really one big family in the Washington metropolitan area.”  She noted that the Blue Plains plant serves Dulles Airport and the Tysons redevelopment in Fairfax County.

County Executive Isiah Leggett noted that the Blue Plains plant provides 70 percent of the wastewater capacity for the Montgomery County and called the agreement “a good sign that will help us move forward on regional cooperation” in other areas.

Bradford Seamon, the Chief Administrative Officer for Prince George’s County, said the IMA will play a fundamental role in the region’s economic development.

In addition to determining how participants will share the costs and allocate capacity for wastewater treatment for the region, the Blue Plains agreement supports improved water quality in the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. The facility is a major part of the infrastructure that ties the region together.

The Blue Plains plant provides 43 percent of the wastewater treatment capacity for the region.  The IMA participants will share annual capital and operating costs totaling $822 million.

The Council of Governments has played a role in the development and expansion of the Blue Plains facility since the early 1970’s and COG’s involvement led to the first IMA in 1985.             

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