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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Water Pollution Abatement Systems at the U.S. National Arboretum, Hickey Run Outfall Area

Location: Gardens Unit

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this Non Funded Cooperative Agreement (NFCA) is to document a partnership among the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA), AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE (ARS), U.S. NATIONAL ARBORETUM (USNA); the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (DC), DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (DOH); and the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WATER AND SEWER AUTHORITY (WASA) for the purpose of improving water quality of Hickey Run, in part to achieve the goal of complying with DC Law 13-311, the "Storm Water Permit Compliance Act of 2000." This MOU coordinates in a mutually beneficial manner the design, construction and operation and maintenance of certain pollution abatement systems to be installed within the USNA as part of a watershed-wide program to reduce pollution loading to the Hickey Run and Anacostia River.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
This NFCA has all necessary authorities to complete the project. The activities to be coordinated under this NFCA include: The use by ARS of $2,188,950 to design and construct a floatable debris control (FOC) system and an oil and grease 'pollution abatement (OGPA) system within the outfall area of the Hickey Run ($1.7M provided in the Conference Report to the FY2003 Consolidated Appropriations Act for the Hickey Run pollution abatement activities at the USNA (Conf. Rep. No. 10, 108th Cong., 151 Sess. 559 (2003)) less 0.65% rescission and $500,000 provided in the Conference Report to the FY2001 Appropriations Act to the District of Columbia, both for pollution abatement on the Hickey Run). WASA shall be responsible for operation and maintenance (O&M) of the constructed facilities. Subject to the terms of a separate easement, ARS will grant WASA and its contractors the right to access the USNA for the operation and maintenance of the Systems.


3.Progress Report:

The Pollution Abatement Structure was completed in 2012. There is an ongoing problem with items of neutral buoyancy, most notably autumn leaf debris, clogging the screens on the structure. The elevation of the structure is low in relation to the elevation of the stream just below the structure, complicating maintenance. Maintenance of the structure has been turned over to the District Department of the Environment, and there have been difficulties in contracting that have resulted in delays in commencement of routine maintenance of the structure. Raw sewage is also entering the stormwater infrastructure above the Pollution Abatement Structure, further complicating maintenance. There have been numerous diesel fuel spills into the stream from outside the arboretum grounds. The District Department of the Environment has been unable to pinpoint the origin of the diesel fuel and sewage pollution. These problems will have to be overcome for the structure to function effectively in removing floatable and hydrocarbon pollution from the stream.


Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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