Our Unfair Share 3

Race & Pollution in Washington, D.C.

 

African American Environmentalist Association

 

2000

 

 

The African American Environmentalist Association (AAEA), founded in 1985, is dedicated to protecting the environment, enhancing the human ecology, promoting the efficient use of natural resources and increasing African American participation in the environmental movement.   AAEA is one of the nation’s oldest African American-led environmental organizations. 

 

AAEA’s main goals are to deliver environmental information and services directly into the black community.  AAEA works to clean up neighborhoods by implementing toxics education, energy, water and clean air programs.  AAEA includes an African American point of view in environmental policy decision-making.  AAEA resolves environmental racism and environmental justice issues through the application of practical environmental solutions.

 

Our Unfair Share 3:

Race and Pollution in Washington, D.C.

 

Author

Norris McDonald

President

 

Sulaiman Mahdi

Contributing Editor

 

Research Assistant

Pamela Pittman

 

Administrative Assistant

Pamela Jones

 

Editing

Red Letter Group, Inc

 

Editing Assistance

Ronald Taylor

 

Contributing Scientists

Dr. Felix Nwoke

Dr. Gustave Jackson

 

© 2000 by the African American Environmentalist Association.  All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the African American Environmentalist Association. Funding for his report was provided by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Justice and Friends of AAEA.  The views, recommendations and opinions expressed in this report are those of the African American Environmentalist Association and do not necessarily reflect the views, recommendations or opinions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or Friends of AAEA.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Acknowledgements              Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 

 

Executive Summary        Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 

 

Introduction    Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 

 

Chapter 1. Race, Cars, and Lead

 

Chapter 2. Race, Dumping and Land Use

 

Chapter 3. Race and Facility Air Pollution

 

Chapter 4. Race and Toxic Sites

 

Chapter 5. Race and Water Pollution

 

Chapter 6. Race and Housing

 

Chapter 7. Neighborhoods

 

Chapter 8. Nutrition

 

Chapter 9. Race, Spills, Leaks, and RCRA

 

Conclusions and Recommendations

 

Endnotes

 

Charts (Links)

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

            Our Unfair Share III: Race and Pollution in Washington, D.C. was prepared by the African American Environmentalist Association with funding provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA), Office of Environmental Justice and Friends of AAEA.  Many people contributed to the preparation of this report. 

 

Special recognition and thanks to Pamela Pittman, research assistant for Our Unfair Share III; she collected and analyzed the majority of the information contained in this report.

 

Special thanks to the consultants who collected and analyzed pollution data and assisted with community outreach: David Hahn-Baker, Dr. Gustave Jackson (geology), Dr. Felix Nwoke (chemistry), Pamela Jones, Pamela Jones, Karen Blagburn, Roger Small and John Rosenthal.

 

Special thanks to the late James Wilson for providing river tour services on the 65’ Bewildered.  Thanks to Joe Fogle and Jim Williams for providing boat tour services.  Thanks to Deeohn Ferris for partnering with AAEA to initiate Our Unfair Share I.  Thanks to National Wildlife Federation and Friends of the Earth for cosponsoring OUS I and II, respectively.

 

Thanks to Seafarer’s Yacht Club, especially Commodore Billy Cobb and Past Commodore Howard Gasaway, for comprehensive river access services.

 

Special thanks to Howard University, WHUT Channel 32 TV, Kojo Nnambdi and Joe Madison for public outreach support.  Thanks to Dick Gregory and The Washington Post for permission to reproduce nutrition and neighborhood information.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Race is the dominant factor in determining exposure to pollution in Washington, D.C.  Caucasian Americans have congregated in Ward 3 (88% white) largely due to racism and African Americans almost completely occupy Ward 7 (98% black) due to racism (including red lining) and preference for self-segregation.  Caucasian Americans live in the ward with the least amount of pollution due to power, money, and historical dominance. Although
African Americans, as minority populations in other cities, are often disproportionately affected by pollution in those locations; blacks in Washington, D.C., as a majority population, are disproportionately impacted by pollution.

 

Racism can be as subtle as an off-hand joke.  Environmental racism can be as lethal as cancer, disease, and death.  Every day, citizens in this country are exposed to racism discharged into the minds, hearts and souls of the recipients.  Every day, citizens are exposed to pollutants discharged into the air, water, and land by industry, government agencies, and municipalities.  Racism divides us citywide, community-wide and block-by-block. Heavy metals, synthetic chemicals, and toxic residues are in the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.  Every day, citizens are exposed to racism discharged from toxic minds.

 

Ward 1 is 57% black, 30% white, and 13% other races. 

 

Ward 2 is 43% black, 50% white, and 7% other races. 

 

Ward 3 is 6% black, 88% white, and 6% other races. Least polluted.

 

Ward 4 is 85% black, 12% white, and 3% other races. 

 

Ward 5 is 90% black, 9% white, and 1% other races.

 

Ward 6 is 72% black, 26% white, and 2% other races. Serious pollution.

 

Ward 7 is 97% black, 2% white, and 1% other races. Serious pollution.

 

Ward 8 is 91% black, 8% white, and 1% other races. Serious pollution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranking of Pollution Sources By Ward in Washington, D.C.

 

Ward

Air

Water

CERCLIS

RCRA

SPILLS

 

Rankings by Ward and Pollution Type

  

 

1 Worst

 

8 Best

 

Wards 1 and 7 contained the least amount of RCRA waste.

 

 

 

Source: AAEA

1

6

No Permits

No Sites

8

5

2

3

3

2

2

4

3

7

1

No Info

5

2

4

5

4

3

4

7

5

8

No Permits

6

1

3

6

2

6

5

3

6

7

1

5

4

8

1

8

4

2

1

6

8

 

Note: Chart does not include undocumented sources of pollution.

 

 

BLACKS ON THE WATER: A Tribute to Seafarer’s Yacht Club –1945 to 2000

 

            Mr. Lewis T. Green, Sr. organized the Seafarer’s Yacht Cub, originally Seafarer’s Boat Club, in 1945.  Mr. Green was a teacher at Brown, Shaw Junior High, and Armstrong Senior High Schools in Washington, D.C.  He taught woodcarving at these institutions for a number of years.  Mr. Green, a gifted craftsman, also built a boat.

 

            Mr. Green loved the waterways and began a search to find a home for his boat.  In his search, he found an isolated swamp.  Looking over the swamp, he thought about how it could be used.  He inquired about the land and was informed that it belonged to the Department of the Interior.  He decided to pay a visit to the Department.

 

            Upon his arrival at the Department, Mr. Green met with one of the Deputy Secretaries and told him of his quest.  The Deputy Secretary informed Mr. Green that if he could establish a boat club, he would try to help him get the land.  Mr. Green met with some of his boating colleagues who shared his dream.  The dream would offer African Americans the opportunity to engage in the enjoyment of the waterways through safe boating and gentlemanly sportsmanship.  Henceforth, the Seafarer’s Boat Club was born.  They returned to the Department of Interior with the hope of obtaining the swamp as the future marina.

 

            After waiting patiently for months, with no response from the Department, they presented their vision to Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator of the people.  Mrs. Bethune, who was an aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on African American affairs, interceded by arranging a meeting with Mr. Harold Ikces, then Deputy Secretary, Department of Interior.  Mrs. Bethune informed Mr. Ikces about the plight of the boatmen, who in turn, contacted the National Park Service Land Leasing Department.  The National Park Service advised the Seafarer’s that the land would be rented to them for $13 a month.  However, the club would be responsible for clearing the land.  Their dream had come true and the marina was initially called Green’s Boat Yard.

 

            Concurrent with this history, the D.C. Mariner’s Boat Club was founded in the early 1950’s.  This club also practiced safe boating and gentlemanly sportsmanship.  In 1964, Mr. Green decided to move on and the D.C. Mariner’s Boat Club held discussions on what to do about the boat yard (marina).  The decision was made, and elections were held in 1965.  The D.C. Mariner’s Boat Club merged with the Seafarer’s Boat Club.  Prior to this merger, a group of Seafarers left to form the Seafarer’s Yacht Club of Annapolis, Maryland.  Now, fifty-five (55) years later, the original Seafarer’s Yacht Club (D.C.) headquarters are still located on the original site, 1950 M Street, S.E., Washington, D.C.  20003.

 

      Â Â Â Â Â  The Seafarers have a strong commitment to boating safety and community services.  They are constantly finding different ways to share with others the pleasures they reap from the banks of the Anacostia River and surrounding waters.  Club members (Captains) have given their time and vessels for a variety of charity and community events.  One of the events, the Seafarer’s Yacht Club Annual Anacostia River Clean-Up, begun in 1985, has expanded into the Anacostia River Clean-Up Day, with participation from various Anacostia groups, businesses, District of Columbia government agencies, Federal government agencies and the community.

 

            Seafarer’s leadership over the past fifty-five (55) years has included the following Commodores: Mr. Lewis Green, Mr. Harold Putman, Mr. Bob Martin, Mr. George Stockton, Sr., Mr. Howard Gasaway, and Mr. Billy Cobb.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia.  Passage of this act came 9 months before President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. (National Archives and Records Administration, 1997)

 

Black and white Americans are overexposed to pollution.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxic Release Inventory in 1991, U.S. industry reported dumping 3.39 billion pounds of toxic chemicals into air, water, and land nationwide.1 Our calculations indicate that the Nation’s capital is exposed to at least 362,374 tons of pollution per year.  The information in this report will show that most of the serious pollution in Washington, D.C. is located in predominately African American communities.

 

            Increased awareness about pollution, environmental injustice and environmental racism has led citizens to demand the right to know about the risks and hazards associated with pollution originating in their communities.  In addition, they are demanding that industry and government take an active role in reducing and eliminating pollution and in developing progressive, long-term solutions to environmental problems.

 

            The city of Washington coexists with the District of Columbia, which is the seat of the federal government of the United States.  Benjamin Banneker, a distinguished black architect and astronomer, completed the official map and design of the city.   As African Americans moved to Washington, D.C. during the migration from the South, Caucasians moved out of the city.  As construction of federal, municipal, commercial, and residential facilities increased, population and pollution increased.  African American home purchases and residency were limited until about the 1960s due to segregation and redlining.  The rate of black migration into Washington was moderated only by the rate of “white flight” out of the city.  Although whites live throughout the city (minimal in Ward 7), Ward 3 became the natural location of choice for the white population.  

 

    Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Â Although blacks make up 13 percent of the nation’s population, African Americans are currently 66 percent of Washington’s population.  Blacks dominate Washington, while whites rule the District of Columbia.  Real estate firms, homeowners, and purchasers all benefited from the sale or rental of three-fourths of all Washington homes during the white flight period.  Rural and suburban living has imposed long commutes on Caucasians working in the District of Columbia and deposits millions of pounds of additional automobile pollutants to the air of the predominately African American residents in Washington.

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â  The l963 March on Washington and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 accelerated access to jobs and public accommodations for African Americans.  Congress enacted the D.C. Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization (Home Rule) Act on December 24, 1973.  The Home Rule government took office in January 1975.  Until then, the federal government exercised control over all District activities since it moved to Washington from Philadelphia in 1800. The federal government maintains oversight and veto power over District affairs.  Thus, blacks have exercised planning authority over Washington, D.C. affairs for about three decades.  Home rule authority has had limited to non-existent impact on pollution sites, particularly federally owned toxic sites.  Hopefully, the next 30 years will provide opportunities for the application of practical environmental solutions.

 

            The combination of air and water pollution with potential superfund sites, generators of hazardous waste and leaking underground storage tanks makes a toxic soup.  District residents, daytime workers and visitors are consuming this broth on a daily basis.  Extremely hot weather exacerbates the effects of these pollutants.  Storms move pollutants through the streets and the sewer pipes to southern city inhabitants.  

  

     Â Â Â Â Â Â  A child in Anacostia with asthma can be exposed to multiple sources of pollution through: eating PCB-contaminated fish, breathing fumes from power plants, auto exhausts from commuter vehicles along neighborhood highways, eating lead paint chips and drinking lead contaminated water, playing in lead-contaminated dirt, exposure to nightly killings, burglaries, rapes and robberies, living next to abandoned mass-burn incinerator ash, being surrounded by potential superfund sites and generators of hazardous wastes, and living on ground soaked by leaking underground storage tanks.

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Gasoline service stations provide the fuel that causes the smog and other vehicle exhaust pollutants in the city.  These same service stations are the largest documented source of leaking underground storage tanks in the District.  These stations service 300,000 District registered vehicles and some percentage of the 2,841,745 registered vehicles in the Washington Metropolitan Area. (COG) These vehicles provide approximately 70 percent of the District’s air pollution.  These cars and trucks, which represent two percent of all cars and trucks in the U.S., also represent two percent of all oil used in the transportation sector in the country.  The District, with only 11 percent of the registered vehicles in the metropolitan area, is exposed to disproportionate quantities of mobile source air pollution.

 

    Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Â The District of Columbia is disproportionately impacted by pollution from federal facilities.  Within the District portion of the Anacostia watershed, approximately 30 percent of the total acreage is federally owned.2

 

            Finally, in addition to documenting types and amounts of pollution by race and income, this report examines this information by census tr
act. 

 

How This Report Can Help

 

            Recognizing sources of pollution and the proximity of these toxics to people of color communities is a crucial first step in assessing environmental racism and pollution risks.  The African American Environmentalist Association developed this report to identify relationships between the racial composition of our nation’s capital and point sources and nonpoint sources of pollution in the air, water, and land. Point sources of pollution are regulated by the government and include commercial and industrial facilities (e.g., electrical plants), federal government facilities (e.g., heating plants, military complexes), and municipal facilities (e.g., sewage treatment plants).  In order to discharge pollutants, some point sources of pollution are required by federal environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Solid Waste Disposal Act, to obtain permits from the government.  The permits, specific to each discharger, identify particular pollutants that may be emitted, are valid for a specific amount of time, and must be renewed and updated periodically by the polluting facility.  These permits do not address the racial composition of the surrounding communities.

 

            Nonpoint sources of pollution are not discharged from a pipe, smokestack, or other specific, stationary “point.”  Typical unregulated sources include urban water runoff, and sewer overflows, which are caused by rainfall, and vary constantly.  Although nonpoint sources of pollution cover large areas, racial factors can still be factors in the distributions and exposures to various toxic substances.

 

 

 

Instructions for Using This Report

 

            This report can be used as a working document by researchers, students, government officials, environmental and civil rights organizations, and the general public.  The quantity of information is organized for convenient cross-referencing.  Information on race and income of residents near pollution sites can be examined by census tract or by zip code.  Information on types and amounts of pollution is also included for these sites.  The general demographic information is at the front of the report.  The zip code section also includes the census tracts. 

 

            The demographics for Spill dischargers and RCRA sites were characterized by Ward due to the large number of listed sites. Demographic information for Leaking Underground Storage Tank sites should be obtained by locating the site on the census tract map.  RCRA sites can also be cross-referenced by using the zip code to obtain demographic information.  

 

Limitations of the Report

 

            This report is limited to Washington, D.C., which has unique environmental, racial, political, cultural and economic characteristics. 

 

            The data in this report is based on information obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Headquarters in Washington, D.C., the EPA Region III Office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in Washington, D.C., Landview II CD database, U.S. Census Bureau and observations and research by AAEA. Most of the information on point sources of pollution in this report is limited to permit information provided by the above agencies.

 

            AAEA research also indicates that, although specific types and amounts of pollution are identified, different databases sometime contain conflicting data.  Moreover, racial category data is based on 1990 Census information and is subject to change.  Information from the Landview II CD database does not always match Census Bureau data.

 

            This report does not examine the interactive effects of environmental racism, black-on-black crime, behavioral practices, nutrition, health, self-reliant remediation, Brownfields redevelopment, alternative technologies, and sustainable development.  This report emphasizes comparative analyses of black/white racial categories and does not provide commentary on other minority groups.  A future report should supplement AAEA’s existing information with an examination of these interactions.

 

CHAPTER 1: RACE, CARS, AND LEAD

 

            Although pollution from the point sources outlined in this report significantly contributes to the degradation of the environment in the District of Columbia, non-point sources of pollution contribute equal or greater adverse effects to the environment.3 The most serious forms of  non-point sources in the District include:  (1) automobile and truck air pollution, (2) urban water runoff, (3) combined sewer overflows, (4) illegal dumping, (5) spills, (6) leaking underground storage tanks, and (7) business activities.  This survey provides the first comprehensive examination of the combination of sources of pollution and racial characteristics in the District of Columbia.

 

MOTOR VEHICLE AIR POLLUTION

 

            William Kruvant’s “American Energy Consumer,” study of spatial patterns of air pollution and residence showed that poor and black Washington, D.C. residents had the greatest chances of being exposed to poor quality air.  They were not, however, the only ones so exposed; members of Congress also lived in areas with heavy air pollution.4

 

            Smog includes several dangerous chemicals:  carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and fine particulates.  Carbon monoxide impairs functioning of the central nervous system.  Nitrogen dioxide weakens the lungs and decreases resistance to infection.  Ozone inflames lung tissue, and fine particulate matter acts as a carrier for other cancer-causing agents that lodge in the lungs.5 Especially sensitive to air pollutants are children under 10 years of age; adults over 65 years; persons with asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, or coronary heart disease; and pregnant women.

 

            Like metropolitan areas across the nation, motor vehicle usage is high in Washington, D.C.  In “The 1982 Air Quality Plan for the Metropolitan Washington Region,” the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) identified vehicle emissions as the largest single source of air pollution in the area.6 According to MWCOG, the 2,841,745 registered vehicles in the metropolitan Washington region emit 369 tons of hydrocarbons, 1,693 tons of carbon monoxide, and 161 tons of
nitrogen oxides every day.  There are approximately 300,000 registered vehicles in the District of Columbia.7 In addition, the number of motor vehicles used in the area is rising as the combined Washington, D.C./Baltimore metropolitan area becomes the fourth largest metropolitan area in the U.S.  The District violates federal health standards set by the EPA for ozone levels and is listed in the “serious” category of ozone violation areas.  During summer months, the amount of ozone pollution in the air in metro Washington region exceeds EPA limits an average of 11 days (Code Red-Unhealthful). 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOBILE SOURCE POLLUTION CHART

 

 

Data Source

 

 

Amount

 

Number of Vehicles

 

Tons/Year

 

Metro Wash Regis Vehicles

                        Â Â Â Â 

            2,800,000

811,395

 

 

DC Registered Vehicles

           

            243,000

70,417

 

 

 

Rush Hour into D.C.

           

            800,000

 

231,827

 

 

Source: MWCOG

600,000 D.C. Residents (Approximate)

 

234 pounds of air pollution per resident per year from vehicles.

 

580 pounds of air pollution per car per year of from vehicles.

 

154 pounds/black resident…80 pounds/white resident

 

Source: AAEA

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â  While traffic and air pollution are problems throughout the city, we believe motor vehicle air pollution is concentrated along the interstates and highways that serve as major commuter routes.  These include:  Interstate Highway 66 (Ward 2), Interstate Highway 395 (Ward 2), and Interstate Highway 295 (Wards 8, 6, and 7), U.S. Highway 50 (Wards 2, 5), U.S. Highway 1 (Wards 2, 5), and U.S. Highway 29 (Wards 2, 1, 4).  Moreover, the Interstate Highway 495 (Beltway) and Interstate 95 are the major highways for the Northeastern corridor of the U.S.  Most of the heaviest traffic in the District of Columbia is channeled through the Southeastern portion of the city.   The largest stationary sources of air pollution are also located in the Southeastern portion of the city.

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â  The District of Columbia is listed in the “serious” category of ozone nonattainment areas.  The deadline for the District to meet federal Clean Air Act standards was 1999.  The EPA ozone design value standard — a near-peak ozone level used to determine whether the area’s air meets the ozone standard is 0.12 parts per million (ppm).  Those areas listed in the “serious” category have ozone levels between 0.160 ppm-0.180 ppm.  The categories include marginal, moderate, serious, severe, and extreme.9 

 

 

            The Environmental Protection Agency concludes in a report entitled “Environmental Equity” that “Racial minority and low-income populations experience disproportionate exposures to selected air pollutants…” The District of Columbia has major thoroughfares in the southern part of the city where African Americans populations predominate. Researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory, studying the demographics of areas designated by EPA as out of compliance with the Clean Air Act, found that higher percentages of African Americans and Hispanics, compared to whites, live in air pollution areas for particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, and sulfur dioxide.10

 

LEAD EXPOSURE

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â  Lead is a highly toxic material.  Children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning because the metal can damage a child’s growing nervous system, creating nerve disorders and learning disabilities.  The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) current threshold of concern for lead levels in children’s blood is 10 micrograms per deciliter of whole blood (ug/dl). 11 The District has a program to test homes for lead and children for lead poisoning, but, like many cities, does not have an effective program for lead cleanup. 

 

HOUSING INVESTIGATIONS FOR CHILDREN’S ELEVATED BLOOD LEAD LEVELS

                         

 WARDS

 

Houses

Inspected

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

 Date

 

 

 

 1986

19%

 

287

 

68

 

43

 

4

 

32

 

 51

 40

 15

 34

 1987

16%

233

52

32

3

28

42

33

15

28

 

 1988

 

 

8%

 

 

119

 

 

34

 

 

12

 

 

0

 

 

20

 

 

20

 

 

15

 

 

4

 

 

14

 

 1989

 

7%

 

108

 

29< /p>

 

14

 

2

 

15

 

16

 

20

 

3

 

9

 

 1990

 

5%

 

76

 

20

 

9

 

0

 

15

 

12

 

16

 

1

 

3

 

 1991

 

5%

 

73

 

27

 

5

 

0

 

2

 

14

 

15

 

4

 

6

 

 1992

 

5%

 

68

 

20

 

10

 

0

 

15

 

11

 

9

 

1

 

2

 

 1993

 

13%

 

197

 

58

 

16

 

2

 

44

 

37

 

28

 

6

 

6

 

 1994

 

12%

 

166

 

55

 

12

 

2

 

28

 

35

 

19

 

7

 

8

 

 1995

 

11%

 

156

 

35

 

17

 

1

 

50

 

24

 

17

 

8

 

4

 

 TOTALS

 

1,483

 

398

 

170

 

14

 

249

 

262

 

212

 

 

64

 

 

114

      PERCENT

 

27%

11%

1%

17%

18%

14%

4%

8%

SOURCE: Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), Housing Inspection Division. Figures are from the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

                       

           

                                         

            The listing of housing investigation results provides a very small sample of blood lead levels by ward.  The housing investigations are conducted when a child’s blood lead level is found to be elevated. The listing is not comprehensive or conclusive and any conclusions drawn from the results should take these factors into consideration.  Factors such as amended blood lead levels, number of homes investigated, equipment upgrades, and the number of available investigators are just a few of the factors which limit the scope of the listing.  The listing does not address whether lead was found in the home; it simply notes that investigations were conducted due to an elevated blood lead level of a resident child. 

 

            Ward 3 had the least number of housing investigations and four years with no investigations.  Ward 1 had the most housing investigations.  The Housing Inspection Division inspected an average of 165 homes per year between 1986 and 1995.

 

            The Centers for Disease Control’s current threshold of concern for lead levels in children’s blood is 10 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dl) of whole blood.12 This is about a pinhead in one-tenth of a quart of blood.  Lead is a toxic metal that is particularly harmful to children if inhaled or eaten.  Lead can damage the nervous system and cause learning disabilities.  Children can inhale lead dust from raising and lowering lead painted windows.  Children also become lead poisoned by eating lead paint chips. Lead in drinking water and in the soil from decades of leaded gasoline use are other sources of lead contamination.  It is also estimated that forty percent of all black children may be lead poisoned compared to seventeen percent for all children under five years old.

 

LEAD IN DRINKING WATER

 

    Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Many homes in the District of Columbia have lead water lines.  These lead pipes and lead solder used to connect copper pipes inside the home can be a source of lead contamination.  According to the D.C. Water and Sewer Utility Administration (WASUA), about 27,000 service lines are estimated to contain lead in the District of Columbia.  According to the D.C. Department of Public Works, recent tests on a sample of District homes found that nearly 11 percent exceed the standard for acceptable lead content set by EPA.  

 

LEAD PAINT

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated that “there are clear differences between racial groups in terms of disease and death rates…a significantly higher percentage of black children compared to white children have unacceptably high blood lead levels (ATSDR, 1988).”  According to data from the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Mean levels of blood lead were higher in blacks than whites among children and adults…The prevalence of elevated lead levels was 12.2 percent in black children and 2.0 percent in white children.”13

 

LEAD IN GASOLINE

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â  The U.S. EPA concluded in its “Environmental Equity Report” that the difference in higher blood lead levels in Black children compared to White children could be due to lead in gasoline (steps were taken to virtually eliminate lead in gasoline in the 1980’s).  However, lead from automobile emissions (leaded gasoline) has been deposited in soils near streets and highways for decades.

 

LEAD IN SOIL

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â  High lead levels have been found at the parking lot sites at RFK Stadium.  This site is in Ward 6 which is 72 percent black.  One recent sample at the site contained lead levels up to 200 times as high as the amount in most soil in the District. 

 

CHAPTER 2: RACE, DUMPING, AND LAND USE

 

            In addition to addressing hazardous waste, the Solid Waste Disposal Act and the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976 include provisions on non-hazardous waste which require states to have solid waste management plans, to prohibit open dumping, and to dispose of non-hazardous solid waste in regulated landfills.

 

            Illegal dumping primarily occurs in the Northeast and Southeast sections of the District.  West of Rock Creek Park, dumping is rare.  The Park Service spends $350,000 annually removing illegally dumped debris from parkland in the eastern half of the city, estimates Leroy Brown, Chief of Maintenance for National Capital Parks-East.  By contrast, David Newman, Brown’s counterpart at Rock Creek Park, says he spends only $15,000 annually cleaning up after illegal dumpers, as mentioned in the Washington City Paper article “Trashing the Neighborhood.”14

 

            Recent dumping of dredge material in Kingman Lake, along with construction  dirt and debris at Kenilworth Park and Langston Golf course, indicates that this section of the city is a convenient dumping ground.  In addition, although the material has been removed, Children’s Island was used as a yard waste dump for years.  Toxic waste ash from the Benning Road Incinerator was also trucked to a dump site at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.  Wards 6,7 and 8 have absorbed a disproportionate amount of serious waste in Washington, D.C.

 

            Recent dumping of tires in Lower Beaverdam Creek just across the District line in Prince George’s County, along with years of such dumping, supports the fact that blackest Washington (Ward 7 and vicinity) is perceived and used as a convenient dumping ground.

 

LAND USE and MISUSE

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â  Wards 6, 7 and 8 are inundated with developed land uses.  Ward 6 includes: 1) the Anacostia River (repository for the city’s poison runoff), 2) RFK Stadium, 3) the D.C. Jail, 4) D.C. Armory, 5) Swirl Concentrator, 6) Capitol Power Plant, and 7) Langston Golf Course abandoned landfill.

 

            Â  Ward 7 includes: 1) Benning Road electric power plant, 2) Benning Road Incinerator (closed), 3) abandoned landfill at Kenilworth Park, and 4) Highway 295 (Wards 6, 7, and 8).  Ward 7 (especially between Highway 295 and Metro’s Blue and Orange Subway line) appears to be one of the city’s main illegal dumping sites.  Long lines of coal filled CSX railroad cars also sit on tracks in Ward 7 along Highway 295 and Metro’s Blue and Orange Subway lines.

 

            Ward 8 includes: 1) Blue Plains Sewage Treatment Plant, 2) Bolling Air Force Base and 3) St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and incinerator ash site. Ward 2, which has the largest identified number of leaking underground storage tanks, is also heavily developed.  Major sites include the U.S. Congress, Washington Navy Yard (a 605 acre navy installation), Buzzard Point electric power plant.

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â  All of the city’s electric power plants are in southern locations in Wards 2, and 7).  Two airfields are in the southern part of the District of Columbia: 1) National Airport and 2) Bolling Air Force Base. Fort McNair, which is a CERCLIS site is also at the southern tip of Ward 2.

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â  CSX Railroad runs through Ward 2 and CSX and a Baltimore and Ohio railroad run through Wards 7 and 8.  Union Station is in Ward 2 and two Baltimore and Ohio railroad tracks run from Union Station through Wards 4 and 5.  One Penn Central Railroad line runs through Ward 5.  Very large quantities of toxic chemicals are moved through the city on the CSX rail line.

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â  These types of high-impact land uses and facilities are virtually nonexistent in Ward 3.  Ward 2 is 50 percent black, Ward 6 is 73 percent black, Ward 7 is 97 percent black and Ward 8 is 91 percent black. Ward 3 has more than half of Rock Creek Park, the largest forested park in Washington, D.C.  In terms of land use and racial demographics, whites occupy the relatively pristine Northwest and blacks occupy the overdeveloped and polluted Southeast. 

 

            One of the most important environmental victories in the city occurred in Ward 7: The defeat of a proposal by the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) to construct two (2) combustion turbines at the 75-acre site.  The River Terrace community led this grassroots environmental protest across Benning Road from the power plant.  George Gurley, River Terrace environmental activist and attorney Kevin Chavous (now Ward 7 Council Member), organized the opposition to the combustion turbine proposal and orchestrated the victory against the plan (proposed in June 1988) by time for the Earth Day 1990 commemoration.  AAEA supported the River Terrace community in this campaign and worked directly with Messrs. Gurley and Chavous.

 

     Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Although Langston Golf Course (Ward 5) is one of the areas finest, part of its sits on top of an abandoned landfill (holes 3, 15 and 16).  A stream runs through the golf holes into the Anacostia River.  PEPCO is also installing high power electrical lines from its Benning Road Power plant through this section of the golf course.  Moreover, only two feet of land covers the golf course at the landfill location. Additional construction dirt has been added to this area.  The course is also elevated above the Anacostia River.  Thus, leachate from the Langston Golf Course landfill has been polluting the river for an extended period of time.  Holes 10, 11, 12, 13 and most of 14 are on land which was originally Anacostia River bottom sediment dredged to create the Kingman Island and Lake in the 1940’s.

 

CHAPTER 3:RACE AND FACILITY AIR
POLLUTION

 

            Point sources of pollution are regulated by the government or are required by law to have a permit to discharge pollutants directly from their facilities.  Included in the listing are air pollution dischargers, water pollution dischargers, leaking underground storage tanks, generators of hazardous waste, and CERCLIS sites.

 

            Air pollution dischargers, water pollution dischargers, and generators of hazardous waste are all part of the federal permit program under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Solid Waste Disposal Act and are required to have permits from the government to emit, produce, or store pollutants.

 

            The Clean Air Act gives EPA the authority to set air quality standards for six common pollutants: sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulates, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and lead.

 

            The following section will identify the racial composition of populations near stationary sources of air pollution.  The identifications will based on zip codes and census tracts.

 

Ward 1

 

  1. The Washington Hospital Center is the largest stationary source of air pollution in the ward with 189 tons per year. The racial composition at the census tract (23.2) is 40 percent black and 58 percent white. The largest area included in this census tract (23.2) is the U.S. Airmen’s and Soldier’s Home.

 

  1. The Howard University power plant emits 96 tons per year of air pollution and census tract (34) population that is 96 percent black and 2 percent white.

Howard University has three other properties that emit one ton of air pollution each per year and the census tract (36 & 37) population is 73 percent black and 8 percent white.

 

  1. The McMillan Water Treatment Plant, operated by the Army Corp of Engineers, emits one tone per year of air pollution and the census tract (34) population is 96 percent black and 2 percent white.

 

 

Ward 2

 

  1. The GSA West Heating Plant emits 531 tons per year of air pollution and the census tract (56) population is 5 percent black and 88 percent white.

 

  1. The GSA Central Heating Plant emits 247 tons per year of air pollution and the census tract (62.1) population is 0 percent black and 98 percent white.

 

  1. The PEPCO Buzzard Point Electric is listed by DCRA’s ERA as emitting 160 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (64) 97 percent black and 2 percent white.

 

  1. Georgetown University emits 337 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (2) population is 10 percent black and 80 percent white.

 

  1. George Washington University emits a total of 83 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (57.2) population is 38 percent black and 63 percent white.

 

  1. The Watergate Central Plant emits 19 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (56) population is 6 percent black and 88 percent white.

 

  1. The Washington Post emits 4 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (52.2) population is 25 percent black and 48 percent white.

 

  1. River Park Mutual Homes emits 5 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (60.1) population is 49 percent black and 45 percent white.

 

  1. Columbia Hospital for Women emits 4 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (55.2) population is 3 percent black and 92 percent white.

 

  1. L’Enfant Plaza East emits 4 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (62.1) population is 0 percent black and 98 percent white.

 

  1. The U.S. Postal Service emits 3 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (62.1) population is 0 percent black and 98 percent white.

 

  1. The National Press Building emits 1 ton of air pollution per year and the census tract (62.2) population is 35 black percent and 65 percent white.

 

  1. L’Enfant Plaza North emits 1 ton of air pollution per year and the census tract (58) population is 20 percent black and 12 percent white.

 

  1. Fort McNair emits 2 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (63.2) population is 16 percent black and 79 percent white.

 

 

 

Ward 3

 

  1. American University emits 58 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (9.1) population is 4 percent black and 89 percent white.

 

  1. National Zoological Park emits 6 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (5.1) population is 5 percent black and 89 percent white.

 

  1. Sibley Memorial Hospital emits 49 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (9.1) population is 4 percent black and 89 percent white.

 

  1. The Naval Security Station emits one ton of air pollution per year and the census tract (10.2) population is 8 percent black and 83 percent white.

 

  1. The University of the District of Columbia emits one ton of air pollution per year and the census tract (12) population is 6 percent black and 88 percent white.

 

  1. The Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant emits 2 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (9.2) population is 5 percent black and 91 percent white.

 

  1. The U.S. Naval Observatory emits one ton of air pollution per year and the census tract (4) population is 4 percent black and 90 percent white.

 

  1. The Washington Cathedral emits 21 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (4) population is 4 percent black and 90 percent white.

 

Ward 4

 

  1. The U.S. Soldier’s & Airmen’s Home emits 195 tons of air pollution per year and the census (23.2) population is 40 percent black and 58 percent white.

 

  1. Trinity College emits one ton of air pollution per year and the census tract (92.2) population is 57 percent black and 40 percent white.

 

  1. The Walter Reed Army Medical Center emits 67 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (18.4) population is 90 percent black and 4 percent white.

 

Ward 5

 

  1. Catholic University emits 28 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (95.2) population is 61 percent black and 37 percent white.

 

  1. The Hospital for Sick Children emits one ton of air pollution per year and the census tract (93.1) population is 75 percent black and 22 percent white.

 

  1. District Paving emits 39 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (87.2) population is 97 percent black and 2 percent white.

 

  1. Faith Construction Company emits 24 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (91.2) population is 99 percent black and 1 percent white.

 

  1. Gallaudet University emits 26 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (88.3) population is 75 percent black and 21 percent white.

 

  1. Providence Hospital emits 9 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (95.2) population is 85 percent black and 14 percent white.

 

Ward 6

 

  1. The U.S. Capital Power Plant emits 1,379 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (62.2) population is 36 percent black and 65 percent white.

 

  1. The Washington Navy Yard, Building 116 emits 28 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (72) population is 82 percent black and 18 percent white.

 

  1. The Washington Navy Yard also emits 9 additional tons of air pollution per year.

 

  1. The D.C. Armory emits one ton of air pollution per year.  

 

  1. D.C. General Hospital emits 67 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract

 

  1. The Marine Barracks located at 8th Street, S.E. emits 5 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (65) population is 10 percent black and 87 percent white.

 

Ward 7

 

  1. The PEPCO Benning Road electric plant emits 2,575 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (96.2) population is 99 percent black and less than one percent white.

 

Ward 8

 

  1. St. Elizabeth’s Hospital emits 285 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (98.9) population is 81 percent black and 18 percent white.

 

  1. The Naval Research Laboratory emits 80 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (73.1) population is 34 percent black and 57 percent white.

 

  1. Bolling Air Force Base emits 10 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (73.1) population is 34 percent black and 57 percent white.

 

  1. Hadley Memorial Hospital emits one ton of air pollution per year and the census tract (98.7) population is 96 percent black and 2 percent white.

 

  1. D.C. Village emits 9 tons of air pollution per year and the census tract (73.8) population is 86 percent black and 12 percent white.

 

Heat Exacerbates Air Pollution Problems

 

     Impervious surfaces retain heat — Washington, D.C. is a heat island.  The temperature in the District is usually ten degrees warmer than the surrounding suburbs. The hottest years on record for the District of Columbia were in the 1990s and may continue into the 21st century.  These high temperatures exacerbate the effects of ground level ozone, poison runoff, toxic humidity and combined sewer overflows.

 

    “Act locally, think globally,” is a popular slogan in the environmental movement.  The District of Columbia has a very interesting climate.  The District is susceptible to acid rain, high pollen counts, ozone alerts, legendary August humidity, and lately, historically high temperatures. 

 

            The following section identifies the racial composition of populations near toxic CERCLIS sites.  The identifications are based on zip codes and census tracts.

 

CHAPTER 4: RACE and TOXIC SITES

 

            When an abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste site is identified, information about the site is entered into a database called CERCLIS, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Information System.  The CERCL Act was passed in 1980 and is more commonly known as Superfund.  Most CERCLIS sites are not superfund sites.  The Washington Navy Yard is the only superfund site in Washington, D.C.  It is in Ward 6, which is 73 percent black.

 

Ward 1

 

            There are no CERCLIS sites in Ward 1.  The racial composition of Ward One is 57 percent black, 30 percent white, and 13 percent other races.

 

Ward 2

 

  1. The Tuxedo Valet toxic CERCLIS site information was unavailable and the census tract (49.2) population is 63 percent black and 29 percent white.

 

  1. The Food and Drug Administration/FB-8 toxic CERCLIS site contains 42,946 pounds of toxic chemicals and the census tract (60.1) population is 49 percent and 45 percent white.

 

  1. The Fort McNair toxic CERCLIS site contains 1,060,225 micrograms per liter of toxic chemicals and the census tract (63.2) population is 16 percent black and 79 percent white.

 

  1. The National Archives and Records Administration toxic CERCLIS site information was unavailable and the census tract (62.2) population is 35 percent black and 65 percent white.

 

Ward 3

 

  1. The Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant toxic CERCLIS site information was unavailable. This information is confidential and exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. The census tract (9.2) population is 5 percent black and 91 percent white.

 

  1. The Soap Stone Creek toxic CERCLIS site information was unavailable and the census tract (10.1) population is 4 percent black and 91 percent white.

 

  1. The Washington Chemical Munitions toxic CERCLIS site information was unavailable and the census tract (9.1) population is 4 percent black and 89 percent white.

 

Ward 4

 

  1. The Walter Reed Army Medical Center toxic CERCLIS site contains 29,971 pounds of toxic chemicals and the census tract ( 18.1) population is 42 percent black and 48 percent white.

 

  1. The Cuthbert St. Medical Waste toxic CERCLIS site could not be located (no street listing) and there was no information available. Ward 4 is 85 percent black and 12 percent white.

 

Ward 5

 

  1. The Bladensburg Road Site toxic CERCLIS site information was not available and the census tract (88.2) population is 99 percent black and 1 percent white.

 

  1. The USDA National Arboretum toxic CERCLIS site contains 30,492,411 micrograms per kilogram of hazardous chemicals and the census tract (89.5-unavailable, so 89.4) population is 99 percent black and one percent white.

 

  1. The Fort Lincoln toxic CERCLIS site information was unavailable and the census tract (90.1) population is 97 percent black and 2 percent white.

 

  1. The International Transmission toxic CERCLIS site information was unavailable and the census tract (90.2) population is 95 percent black and 4 percent white.

 

Ward 6

 

  1. The Washington Navy Yard toxic CERCLIS site contains 8,095 pounds of hazardous chemicals and the census tract (72) population is 82 percent black and 18 percent white.

 

  1. The Washington Gas Light toxic CERCLIS site contains 61 milligrams per liter of hazardous chemicals and the census tract (71) population is 86 percent black and 11 percent white.

 

Ward 7

 

  1. The PEPCO Benning Road Facility toxic CERCLIS site contains 22,614 pounds of hazardous material and chemicals and the census tract (96.2) population is 99 percent black and less than one percent white.

 

Ward 8

 

  1. The National Park Service toxic CERCLIS site was unavailable and the census tract (74.1) population is 99 percent black and less than one percent white.

 

  1. AAEA could not locate the Fenwick Road Trailer toxic CERCLIS site and used the zip code to establish the ward location. The zip code population is 96 percent black and 3 percent white.

 

  1. The St. Elizabeth’s Hospital toxic CERCLIS site contains 78,175 micrograms per kilograms and 10,020 micrograms per liter of hazardous chemicals and the census tract (98.9) population 81 percent black and 18 percent white.

 

  1. The Bolling Air Force Base toxic CERCLIS site contains 69,267 micrograms per liter and the census tract (73.1) population is 34 percent black and 57 percent white.

 

  1. The Anacostia Naval Station toxic CERCLIS site contains 18,630 pounds of hazardous chemicals and the census tract (73.1) population is 34 percent black and 57 percent white.

 

  1. The Naval Research Lab A-11 toxic CERCLIS site contains 27,686 pounds of hazardous chemicals and the census tract (88.2) population is 99 percent black and one percent white.

 

            CERCLIS sites are uncontrolled hazardous waste sites that pose a direct threat to human health and wildlife.  The Superfund program, or the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), passed by Congress in 1980, set up a $1.6 billion fund, financed with taxes on certain chemicals and crude oil.  This fund enables the government to clean up sites and recover cleanup costs from polluters later.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has primary responsibility for enforcing the Superfund program, placing new sites on the National Priorities List, and assuring that the nation’s hazardous waste sites are cleaned-up.

 

            The following section identifies the racial composition of populations near waste water pollution discharge permit holder sites.  The identifications are based on census tracts.

 

CHAPTER 5: RACE AND WATER POLLUTION

 

            The Clean Water Act of 1972 regulates the discharge of water pollution, requiring a federal permit be obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency in order to legally emit pollutants into any water body.  Public drinking water supplies are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Safe Drinking Water Act, while bottled water falls under the authority of the Food and Drug Administration.

 

Ward 1

 

There are no wastewater permit holders.  Ward 1 is 57 percent black and 30 percent white.

 

Ward 2

 

1.The PEPCO Buzzard Point wastewater permit holder site discharges 28 milligrams per liter (solids, oils & grease) and the census tract (64) population is 97 percent black and 2 percent white.

 

  1. The General Services Administration West Heating Plant wastewater permit holder site discharges 59 milligrams per liter (solids, oil, grease) and the census tract (56) population is 5 percent black and 88 percent white.

 

  1. The Amerada Hess Washington Terminal wastewater permit holder site discharge information was unavailable and the census tra
    ct (64) population is 97 percent black and 2 percent white.

 

  1. The National Gallery of Art wastewater permit holder site discharge information was unavailable and the census tract (62.2) population is 35 percent black and 65 percent white.

 

  1. The Goose Bay Aggregates, Inc. wastewater permit holder site discharges 21 milligram per liter (solids, oil, & grease) and the census tract (64) population is 97 percent black and 2 percent white.

 

  1. The JFK Center for Performing Arts wastewater permit holder site discharge information was unavailable and the census tract (56) population is 5 percent black and 88 percent white.

 

 

 

 

Ward 3

 

1.  The Washington Aqueduct-Dalecarlia Plant wastewater permit holder discharges 99,000 milligrams per liter (solids, iron, aluminum) and the census tract (9.2) population is 5 percent black and 91 percent white.

 

Ward 4

 

1.  The Super Concrete Corporation wastewater permit holder discharges 78 milligrams per liter (solids, oil & grease) and the census tract (95.1) population is 61 percent black and 37 percent white.

 

Ward 5

 

There are no wastewater permit holders. Ward 5 is 90 percent black and 9 percent white.

 

Ward 6

 

  1. The Barney Circle Freeway Modification wastewater permit holder information was unavailable. This project was cancelled in 1996. The census tract (71) population is 86 percent black and 11 percent white.

 

  1. The D.C. Materials, Inc. wastewater permit holder discharges 19 milligrams per liter (solids, oil & grease) and the census tract (72) population is 82 percent black and 18 percent white.

 

Ward 7

 

  1. The PEPCO Benning Road power plant wastewater permit holder discharges 32 milligrams per liter (oil, grease, & zinc) and the census tract (96.2) population is 99 percent black and less than one percent white.

 

Ward 8

 

  1. The Blue Plains Sewage Treatment Plant wastewater permit holder discharges 912 milligrams per liter (numerous items) and the census tract (73.8) population is 34 percent black and 57 percent white.

 

Additional Sites

 

The Commonwealth of Virginia and EPA Region 3 sites information is unavailable.

 

URBAN WATER RUNOFF

 

            Urban water runoff is poison.  This poison comes from Washington, D.C.’s large tracts of rooftops, asphalt, concrete, roads, streets, alleys, highways, driveways, buildings, parking lots, sidewalks, sediments, nutrient fertilizers, bacteria, oil and grease, heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and chlorides and is deposited into the surrounding bodies of water.  This poison is washed into the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers every time it rains. 

 

            Although all surface waters in the District are affected by poison runoff to some extent, toxic levels directly linked to runoff are much higher in the Anacostia River than in the Potomac River or Rock Creek.  According to a January 1993 study by the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) in the Potomac Basin Reporter, the sediments of specific areas of the tidal Anacostia River contain substantially higher concentrations of lead, cadmium, zinc, PCBs, chlordanes, hydrocarbons, and other contaminants than the Potomac River, the Washington Ship Channel, and the Tidal Basin.15 We believe Wards 6,7 and 8 experience the most environmental damage from poison runoff.  These wards are predominantly African American.

 

            Recent EPA studies show that heavily polluted surface waters are polluted largely or entirely by factory and sewage discharges and by toxic runoff.16 Poison runoff from the water bodies of the District of Columbia rivals factories and sewage treatment plants as a source of pollution.17 The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that 400,000 pounds of zinc, 94,100 pounds of copper, and 22,100 pounds of lead were carried into local streams and rivers of Washington, D.C. by runoff in 1989.  According to the NRDC study, this was three times the amount of zinc, and almost as much copper and lead as was discharged by all Virginia and Maryland factories in 1987. 

 

            Heavy metals found in runoff such as lead, cadmium, copper, and zinc, directly affect the health of aquatic life and can contaminate drinking water supplies and impact human hea