In December, the National Park Service, in partnership with the District of Columbia, reached a proposed agreement with Washington Gas Light Company (Washington Gas) to clean up the land formerly owned by the NPS and to prevent contamination from reaching the adjacent Anacostia River.
This proposed agreement is subject to public comment and is currently pending before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
The impacted land was formerly part of Anacostia Park, an urban waterfront park along the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. The Federal and District of Columbia Government Real Property Act of 2006 transferred the NPS land to the District of Columbia. Despite the transfer, the Service continues in its role as lead agency under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) responsible for overseeing cleanup of the site.
Immediately adjacent to the former NPS property is land owned by Washington Gas, which manufactured gas on the property from 1888 until the mid-1980s. Environmental investigations have confirmed that contamination extends from the Washington Gas property through the former NPS property into the Anacostia River. Contaminants generated from the many years of gas production on the site include metals, oil, tar, coal, and other related contaminants. These manufactured gas byproducts were placed on the NPS property as fill material or were transported via groundwater movement through the site.
Once approved by the court, the signed agreement will require Washington Gas to remove up to three feet of contaminated soil covering the former NPS land. The excavated areas then will be re-filled to the current surface elevation to accommodate the area’s proposed recreational uses. Washington Gas also will conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine if groundwater is an ongoing source of contaminants into the Anacostia River and to characterize site-related contaminants in Anacostia River sediments. Clean up of contamination in groundwater and sediments in the Anacostia River will be addressed in a future settlement or enforcement action following remedy selection by NPS.