Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (January 24, 2001) – Today the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) complied with a court order by issuing a waterway construction permit for the Fairfax County Water Authority for a drinking water intake project in the Potomac River. Issuance of the permit is required after last week’s ruling in the Circuit Court of Baltimore City, denying the department’s request for a stay of the administrative decision ordering that the permit be issued.

"MDE continues to believe that issuance of this permit is not in the best interest of the public nor the health of the Potomac River," said MDE Secretary Jane T. Nishida. "As this project moves forward, our concerns over water quality and environmental damage within the Potomac River persist. MDE will continue to press these concerns on appeal before the court, but is complying with the court’s ruling that the permit must be issued while the appeal continues."

The permit allows Fairfax County to construct a water intake structure in the Potomac River four feet below the water’s normal surface level and 725 linear feet out from the Virginia shore.

The project site is located at the Fairfax County Water Authority’s facilities in Loudoun County, Va. approximately 2000 feet upstream of Seneca Dam. The permit also incorporates the conditions required under the Potomac River Protection Act, passed during the 2000 Maryland General Assembly.

MDE's primary mission is to protect and restore the quality of Maryland's air, water, and land resources. The department works to ensure achievement of the state's environmental goals while fostering economic development, safe communities, and environmental education.