Coming Soon to D.C.: Rivers Clean Enough for Swimming

A tremendous open space and recreation addition could be on the horizon for residents of Washington, D.C., but there's still work to do in cleaning the Potomac and Anacostia rivers.

August 30, 2018, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


The Yards Park, in Washington, D.C.

The Anacostia River, at The Yards Park, in Washington, D.C.. | Jon Bilous / Shutterstock

"The reasons why you can’t safely or legally swim in the District’s rivers could be resolved within the next several years — a concrete milestone for clean rivers which until recently seemed difficult to envision," reports Mitch Wander.

Wander provides more details of the improving water quality of the Potomac River and the Anacostia River:

The Potomac Conservancy graded the Potomac a “B” in 2018, rising from a D- in 2007. The Anacostia Watershed Society rated the Anacostia a D- in 2018, the river’s first passing grade, with the ability to swim in the Anacostia by 2025 a stated goal. Both organizations, Rock Creek Conservancy, and their volunteers conduct extensive hands-on activities to improve our rivers.

According to Wander, the improved condition of the rivers are visible everywhere from nesting bald eagles to reduced trash and nitrogen to healthier fish. The article goes into detail about the benchmarks that will be necessary to achieve to clean the rivers enough for recreational swimming.

Planetizen also picked up news of D.C. Water's Clean River project, and the progress it's made in cleaning the Anacostia River, in July.

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