Friday, October 01, 2010
The 5th Annual Potomac Watershed Trash Summit was held Wednesday, September 22, 2010 in Washington DC. The annual convention addresses the goal of trash reduction in the Potomac River and is a forum to evaluate progress, strategies, commitments, and regulatory tools in place to achieve the goal. Montgomery County is one of the initial signatories to the Potomac Watershed Trash Treaty which commits signers to achieving a Trash-Free Potomac by 2013.
At the Summit, Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection was awarded a Potomac Champion Award. The award, received by Director Bob Hoyt, acknowledged the Department’s leadership in championing the use of regulatory tools, innovative outreach, and cooperative management to reduce trash in the river. Regulatory tools include Montgomery County's State-issued stormwater permit which requires that the County (1) meet a numeric pollution budget (TMDL) for trash and litter in the Anacostia River, a tributary to the Potomac and (2) achieve the goals of the Potomac Watershed Trash Treaty—a trash-free river by 2013. TMDLs provide the scientific basis for establishing water quality-based controls and reducing pollution. Under Hoyt, DEP has also provided support for a public education campaign and marketing effort to prevent litter, under development by the Alice Ferguson Foundation slated for region-wide distribution later this year.
The Secretary of Maryland’s Department of the Environment, Shari Wilson said, “Getting the requirements in place to meet the pollution limits required support from Montgomery County to come to fruition, and we appreciate the County's hard work.”
In awarding the Potomac Champion Award, Tracy Bowen, Executive Director of the Alice Ferguson Foundation which spearheads the Trash Free Potomac Initiative, recognized that the leadership shown by the Montgomery County’s DEP would catalyze other neighboring jurisdictions to also use regulatory tools and other strategies to reduce trash and litter in the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. She praised DEP’s “outstanding dedication to finding innovative solutions to eradicate trash.”
The annual Trash Summit had attendance from political jurisdictions around the Potomac Watershed which covers portions of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. Among the over 300 summit attendees were elected officials and decision-makers from around the region, non-profit and community organizations, the business community, solid waste professionals, students, clean up volunteers and others with a stake in a clean river.
Panel discussions and roundtable sessions were held on support for and implementation of regional strategies aimed at reducing trash and increasing recycling; and increasing education and awareness of the trash issue throughout the Potomac Watershed. Early drafts of the regional publicity campaign to address litter and stormwater pollution which winds up as trash in our rivers after rainfall events were also unveiled and discussed at the Summit.