A federal court in Washington, D.C. has ruled that EPA violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) in approving a pollutioncontrol plan for the Anacostia River prepared by the District of Columbia and Maryland. Anacostia Riverkeeper, Inc. v. Jackson, No. 09-97 (D.D.C. 7/25/11).

Plaintiffs alleged that EPA failed to set load limits on sediment and total suspended solids (TSS) sufficient to implement the District’s and Maryland’s applicable water quality standards. They also claimed that the agency relied on water quality criteria that would not provide for attainment of all relevant criteria and failed to take into account critical conditions to protect water quality during times of high flow. The complaint also alleged that EPA improperly allocated pollutant loads to individual point sources and omitted an adequate margin of safety.

Although the court rejected some of plaintiffs’ allegations, it held that EPA violated the APA and CWA by approving total maximum daily loads of sediment and TSS that ignored the effects of those elements on the river’s recreational and aesthetic uses. According to the court, EPA’s development of a sediment/ TSS total maximum daily load for the Anacostia “is a story of excessive negligence and unnecessary delay.” In a decision described as a “scathing criticism of EPA, the District of Columbia and Maryland,” the court granted, in part, plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. See E & E News PM, July 25, 2011.