Washington Gas Light Co. has agreed to clean a section of land along the Anacostia River that it contaminated with harmful chemicals for more than a century, federal officials announced Monday.
As part of an agreement involving the utility, the U.S. Interior Department and the D.C. government, Washington Gas will also pay for a comprehensive investigation of toxic contamination of soil and groundwater on the site. It will repay nearly $1 million to federal agencies for investigations that revealed how badly the river was fouled where the company once processed gas.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called the agreement “a milestone in our efforts . . . to transform what was once known as America’s forgotten river into a model urban park.” A walkway is slated to traverse the area once when the work is done.
But the Anacostia Watershed Society said much is unknown about the agreement, including its cost and how the utility will be held accountable for its work. “How much they’re committing is really unclear at this point,” said Brent Bolin, director of advocacy for AWS.