LETTER TO THE EDITOR: D.C. Water missing chances for cleanup

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The article “As overflows continue, D.C. plan for sewage tunnels getting messy” (Web, June 2) misrepresents the views of the Natural Resources Defense Council with regard to D.C. Water’s proposal to change its commitment to reduce sewage overflows.

Contrary to the article’s implication, NRDC strongly supports integrating smart 21st-century innovations into municipal water-restoration initiatives in Washington and across the nation. “Green infrastructure” techniques often can solve the same flooding and pollution problems as effectively as gray approaches, but with additional benefits such as cost savings and healthier communities.

Because green infrastructure competes well with other stormwater-management techniques and because sewage overflows threaten public health, weakening sewage-overflow protections to accommodate green infrastructure is unnecessary and irresponsible. We cannot give a free pass to D.C. Water or others for simply promising to investigate green infrastructure if doing so means significant cleanup delays and missed opportunities for pollution reduction. These delays are what primarily concern us about D.C. Water’s proposal.

REBECCA HAMMER

Project attorney, Water Program

Natural Resources Defense Council

Washington

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