The Blue Plains Intermunicipal Agreement (IMA) of 1985 is the arrangement under which DC Water's regional facilities, such as the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant and Potomac Interceptor sewer, are funded, managed and operated. The District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland, and Fairfax County in Virginia are all signatories to the IMA. The agreement defines the rights, obligations and responsibilities of the parties regarding the capacity at Blue Plains, management of facilities for wastewater transmission and treatment, and biosolids management. The IMA also resolved flow and capacity allocation issues while providing for a regional water quality program and biosolids management plan.
Since the IMA's signing in 1985, several significant changes have occurred in the region that the signatories could not foresee at that time - primarily the creation of DC Water (then DC WASA) as a quasi-independent instrumentality of the District Government. Federal requirements and technological advances have also changed the treatment process, greatly reducing the amount of nutrients DC Water can discharge into the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. The chief administrative officers of the four jurisdictions recognized this concern and recommended that the Blue Plains IMA committees review the agreement and suggest a process and format through which it could be updated. The committees, working in conjunction with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, defined key updates and produced an annotated version of the IMA to identify the areas that need to be updated or renegotiated. The participating jurisdictions are now renegotiating the IMA.