Poplar Point Site

Poplar Point location figure
Poplar Point Map

NPS Photo

Site History

Prior to 1882, the area that became Poplar Point was compromised of tidal marshes associated with the Anacostia River. Between 1882 and 1927, sediment dredged from the Anacostia River was placed into these tidal marshes to create developable land. From the mid-1920s until 1993 the western portion of the approximately 96 acre Poplar Point Site was divided into two parcels, both of which were used for plant nurseries and greenhouses. One of those parcels was used by the District of Columbia’s Lanham Tree Nursery (DCL), and the other by the Architect of the Capitol (AOC). From the 1940s through the 1960s, the Naval Receiving Station (NRS) occupied the central and eastern portions of Poplar Point. Currently, NACE headquarters, the U.S. Park Police (USPP) Anacostia Operations Facility (AOF), and the USPP Aviation Unit facilities occupy the portion of the Poplar Point property formerly occupied by the NRS. The METRO Green line runs underground through the western end of the former NRS parcel.

In 2006, Congress enacted legislation (Public Law 109-396, commonly referred to as the DC Lands Act) directing the United States to transfer the NPS property at Poplar Point to the District of Columbia (District), but the transfer is not yet complete. The former greenhouse and nursery areas are unused and have revegetated.

Researchers collecting soil samples at Poplar Point Site
Researchers collecting soil samples at Poplar Point Site.

NPS Photo

Poplar Point Environmental Investigations

Since the early 1990s, a number of environmental investigations have been performed at the Poplar Point Site. Most of these investigations focused on the southwestern portion of the Site, in the areas formerly operated as nurseries and greenhouses. Those investigations identified contamination consisting of metals, pesticides, semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), petroleum hydrocarbons, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Site soils. In addition to the environmental investigations, abandoned drums and inactive underground and above ground storage tanks were removed from the Site.

In September 2008, NPS and the District entered into a Settlement Agreement under which the District agreed to conduct a Remedial Investigation (RI) and Feasibility Study (FS) in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of the entire Poplar Point Site under the oversight of NPS. The RI/FS will be completed in accordance with CERCLA’s associated regulations provided in the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan or NCP. The RI will characterize the environmental conditions of the Site, and will include assessments of the ecological and human health risks posed by hazardous substances present at the Site. The FS will present a range of cleanup alternatives and evaluate those alternatives using the criteria prescribed in the NCP. Following completion of the RI and FS, a Proposed Plan identifying the preferred cleanup alternative will be issued for public review and comment.

In the summer of 2018, the District, with NPS oversight, began the first phase of RI field activities. These activities included the collection of environmental samples to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the Site. The District and NPS analyzed the results of the Phase I RI and identified data gaps. The District developed and NPS reviewed and approved Phase 2 RI work plans which discussed the data gaps identified during the Phase 1 investigation and outlined field activities to be completed to fill these gaps. The Phase 2 RI field activities began in summer 2022. Following Phase 2 data collection, an assessment of the data will be completed, and additional samples will be collected to address any identified data gaps, as necessary. Once all analytical data has been collected, DOEE will prepare a draft RI report and submit the report for NPS review. The draft RI report will include an assessment of risk posed by hazardous substances present on the Site to human health and ecological receptors. In accordance with the CERCLA response framework outlined in the NCP, the District will prepare a FS after the RI Report is finalized. The RI/FS is currently expected to be completed by late 2024, although this schedule may be revised if a review of the Phase II RI results indicates data gaps exist that require collection of additional environmental samples. Once the RI/FS is completed a Proposed Plan will be prepared to describe the plan to cleanup contamination that has been determined to pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.


Poplar Point Site Documents

The National Park Service maintains a record of all Site related environmental investigations and the Site’s Administrative Record. The Administrative Record contains the documents that will form the basis for the selection of the cleanup remedy and is updated periodically throughout the project. The adminstrative record index lists all documents currently included in the Site's Administrative Record. The AR documents are available at Anacostia Neighborhood Library for review. Electronic copies of the administrative record may also be requested by contacting the NPS CERCLA project manager, Donna Davies.

Contact Information

National Capital Parks-East
1900 Anacostia Drive, SE
Washington, D.C. 20020
Contact: Donna Davies, CERCLA Project Manager
Phone: (202) 359-3234
Email: e-mail us
Mon.-Fri. 9:00a.m. - 4:00p.m. ET

DC Library System
Anacostia Neighborhood Library
1800 Good Hope Road, SE
Phone: (202) 715-7707
Email: anacostialibrary @ dc.gov

Last updated: February 24, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1900 Anacostia Drive, S.E.
Washington, DC 20020



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