Washington, DC Installs Two New Bandalong Litter Traps on the Anacostia River
Once again, Storm Water Systems is proud to be involved with our nation’s capital’s on-going efforts to prevent trash from entering waterways. Washington DC started 2012 off right with the installation of two new Bandalong Litter Traps. According to a press release from the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), “the two Bandalongs, one installed in Marvin Gaye Park and the other at an MS4 outfall near the James Creek Marina, will be instrumental in preventing trash and debris from reaching the mainstem of the Anacostia River.
What makes this installation unique is how the District funded the new Bandalong Litter Traps. In January 2010, Washington, DC became the first city in the nation to implement a fee on disposable shopping bags called the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund. This innovative solution to the growing problem of trash in our water requires stores to charge 5 cents for each plastic or paper bag distributed at the point of purchase. The store keeps 1-2 cents of the fee and the remainder goes to the fund aimed at restoring and protecting the Anacostia River. This initiative raised approximately $3.4 million through September 2011 and is used for restoration, education and trash-reduction projects in the District’s waterways, outreach, implementation and reusable-bag distribution. A small portion of the funds raised were used for the two new Bandalong installations.
“I’m thrilled about today’s announcement,” says Council member Tommy Wells (Ward 6) and the principal author of the bag law. “The city is keeping its promise to use the funds collected to invest in the clean-up and restoration of the Anacostia. Today we are marking another step in restoring the River’s health for all of our residents to enjoy.”
“This is another progressive step towards restoring our rivers and streams,” says DDOE Director Christophe A.G. Tulou. “With these Bandalongs, we are doing what is necessary to ensure that our waterways are trash free and, at the same time, improving the quality of life for District residents.”
A press conference announcing the new installations was held January 24th at Marvin Gaye Park. Anacostia Riverkeeper and project manager Mike Bolinder said, “Everybody wins with a Bandalong project. The river is cleaner, jobs are being created, the City has help meeting its TMDL obligations and we’re gathering crucial data about litter. This is a model every city in America should follow.” The Bandalongs were installed as part of a grant awarded by DDOE to Anacostia Riverkeeper.
Groundwork Anacostia River DC (GWARDC), a local non-profit that uses environmental restoration as a means for community development, will be conducting annual maintenance on both devices. “Hopefully going forward, other jurisdictions will follow DC’s lead and see the incredible benefit in investing in this technology and supporting the resources that can work right along with it,” commented Dennis Chestnut, Executive Director of GWARDC. “By combining effective equipment, the Bandalong, with a community’s most valuable resources, the people, we are able to make the Bandalong the most efficient system operating.”
Storm Water Systems President Gary Hopkins stated, “Storm Water Systems is honored to be involved in this unique clean water partnership. Washington, D.C. continues to prevent trash from entering the Anacostia River through an important collaboration between public, private and non-profit organizations. The District serves as a model for communities across America struggling with the unfortunate issue of litter in their waterways.”
Under the new MS4 permit, the District has committed to complying with the Anacostia trash TMDL by 2016. The DDOE states that projects like this will be necessary to ensure compliance with the MS4 permit, the TMDL, and other efforts for a trash-free Anacostia. Since the installation of the first Bandalong at the mouth of Watts Branch in 2009, more than six tons of trash and debris has been collected.