Between 1985 and 2003, the Pepco Benning Road power plant in Northeast Washington had six documented releases into the environment of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). In mid-December 2010, the District of Columbia and Pepco reached an agreement to perform a remedial investigation and feasibility study at the facility, using HIA methodology and with oversight from the District’s Department of Energy and Environment. The study is narrowly focused on the effects of the exposure on the communities immediately surrounding the Pepco Benning plant and will provide residents the opportunity to review sampling data collected by Pepco consultants and provide input on potential health impacts.
The Pepco Sampling and Analysis Plan and Health and Safety Plan indicate that the investigation will focus on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PCBs, and heavy metals, with limited screening for volatile or semivolatile organic compounds, pesticides, dioxins, and furans. Pregnant women and adults and children with pre-existing conditions such as asthma and bronchitis are particularly vulnerable to environmental toxins. High rates of these diseases have been reported in the District and in the neighborhoods surrounding the plant.
The HIA scope is limited to employees of the plant and to those engaged with the Anacostia River, such as subsistence fishermen. The assessment team plans to expand the scope of the feasibility study and increase involvement of neighboring residents in the decision-making process by highlighting human health.
Janet Phoenix, firstname.lastname@example.org