Washington, D.C. – Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania have designated June 4-12 as Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week. Local governments and water utilities across metropolitan Washington have worked for decades to reduce pollutants entering the Bay and improve its water quality—and these efforts are making a difference.
The region’s wastewater utilities have made major investments in their treatment plants and systems, resulting in significant reductions in nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) that are discharged to local rivers and the Bay. There have also been documented improvements in water quality and living resources in the Potomac River, such as rebounding populations of submerged aquatic vegetation and American shad. These award-winning wastewater plants continue to protect human health and restore local water quality, while meeting very strict regulations, operating state-of-the-art facilities, planning for future growth, and finding new and innovative ways to become more sustainable. And, accomplishments in nutrient reductions have been made well ahead of the Bay Program’s 2025 Bay TMDL deadline.
Local governments in the area also have to meet some of the strictest requirements for controlling stormwater pollution. As a result, localities are implementing some of the most innovative techniques and best management practices in the Bay watershed and the country. These efforts, like green infrastructure and stream restoration, are well underway and will further help the region achieve its Bay water quality goals.
In May, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors passed a resolution in support of Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week. Officials on COG’s Chesapeake Bay and Water Resources Policy Committee (CBPC), are available for interview about the great strides the region has made in improving the water quality in the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and the Bay.
COG MEMBER EXPERTS AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT
Craig Rice, COG Chesapeake Bay and Water Resources Committee Chairman, Montgomery County Council Member
Craig Rice was elected in 2010 to the Montgomery County Council, after previously serving in the Maryland House of Delegates for four years. As CBPC Chairman, Rice and his committee members address regional water quality challenges in addition to those associated with the Bay.
Read a Chesapeake Bay Journal op-ed by Chairman Rice,
"Metro DC on the Front Lines of Wastewater Treatment Efforts"
Penny Gross, COG Climate, Energy, and Environment Policy Committee Chairman, CBPC Member, Fairfax County Mason District Supervisor
Penny Gross was re-elected to her sixth term on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in November 2015. Gross is Vice-Chair of the Board, chairs the Personnel Policy and Environment Committees, has chaired the Local Government Advisory Committee of the Chesapeake Bay Program, and has been a member of the CBPC since it was created in 1998.
Lisa Feldt, CBPC Member, Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection Director
Lisa Feldt oversees the programming and budget of approximately $470 million and 170 personnel. She leads DEP’s five divisions comprised of solid waste management, watershed management, and environmental policy and compliance, and water and wastewater management. Her responsibilities and legislative initiatives include sustainability, energy, air quality, noise, climate change, waste prevention and recycling, litter, streams/watersheds, stormwater, and more.
George Hawkins, CBPC Member, DC Water General Manager and CEO
George Hawkins serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and General Manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). With an operating and capital budget of nearly $1 billion, DC Water provides drinking water delivery and wastewater collection and treatment for a population of more than 600,000 in the District of Columbia, as well as the millions of people who work in or visit the District. DC Water also treats wastewater for a population of 1.6 million in the Metropolitan region.
Karen Pallansch, CBPC Member, Alexandria Renew Enterprises Chief Executive Officer
Karen Pallansch is responsible for Alexandria Renew Enterprises, one of the most advanced water resource recovery facilities in the United States and regional facility for Alexandria and parts of Fairfax. She has worked at Alexandria Renew Enterprises for more than 20 years.
Carla Reid, CBPC Member, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission General Manager and Chief Executive Officer
Carla Reid currently serves as General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC). Reid began her 20-year career at WSSC in 1986, ultimately serving as Deputy General Manager from 2005-2006. Prior to re-joining the Commission in January 2016, Reid worked for Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett as the Director of the Department of Permitting Service. In 2011, she joined Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker’s staff as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Economic Development and Public Infrastructure.
COG’s Chesapeake Bay and Water Resources Policy Committee (CBPC) was originally established to give local governments in the metropolitan Washington region a stronger voice and input in the EPA/Chesapeake Bay Program’s technical work and policy development. The committee’s charge has hence been expanded to broadly address the many interconnected water resource issues facing the region.