Swimming is not an approved activity in the waters of the District of Columbia. There are days when it is safe to swim in the river, but it is currently illegal to swim outside of permitted events. The risk of high bacteria levels after a heavy rain storm is the only reason it is considered “unsafe” to swim in the river. Sometimes, yes! In recent decades, public and private entities have worked to clean up the river and preserve the Anacostia watershed. Anacostia Riverkeeper, Inc. updates the status of this beach as soon as test results become available. on nearby lawn area, Use of sustainable design elements such as floating vegetation, solar panels, green roofs, and recycled materials, Natural filtration and other ecological enhancements. The Anacostia is a strip of dirty water that is as much a cultural and socioeconomic divide as a geographic one. Anacostia River - Bladensburg Waterfront Park, Anacostia River - Sligo Creek 1 (Fleetwood Terrace), Anacostia River - Sligo Creek 2 (Maple Ave). The river is getting better but it is not always safe to swim, and the sediment can currently pose a risk to waders. Capable of accommodating space for kayaks or paddleboards, Pool or components could be moved to different sites along the Anacostia River, Accessible by walking, bicycling, transit and driving, Accommodating of all ages, economic circumstances, and abilities, Integrated shoreline restoration or ecological enhancement. When temperatures reach unbearable heights, the Potomac -- as well as the Anacostia and Rock Creek -- may look enticing. A “green” rating is demonstrative of the E. coli levels at one point in time. But taking a dip at the wrong time can be the equivalent of doing the backstroke in a cesspool reports Darryl Fears in Tuesday's Health and Science section. We wanted to know if it was possible to make swimming in the Anacostia River safe, fun, accessible and inviting to all, so the Anacostia Waterfront Trust asked SmithGroup, an architecture, engineering and planning firm, to complete a feasibility study for a river pool in 2018. This status is based on the latest sample, taken on October 1st, 2020. Anacostia Riverkeeper will test the river every Wednesday, she … A facility could be designed differently in each of these locations. Red means the water at the site has water quality issues or there is an emergency. Check out the Washington Post's interactive mapto view the deadly hazards that lurk in these waters. The “pool” could be a full-size lap pool, a shallow splash pad, a deep pool safe for diving, or something that includes all of these. Yes. Samples over the standard are considered "red" due to their failure to meet criteria, and the increased risk of illness. So while it’s not safe to swim in the Anacostia or eat fish from it today, there’s hope for the future. In DC, funded by DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), ARK runs a citizen science water quality monitoring program in partnership with Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Audubon Naturalist Society, Potomac Riverkeeper, and Rock Creek Conservancy. We report single sample values but refer to the geometric mean bacteria cutoff to be more conservative and protective of recreational health. Avoid wading and playing in the water as well, as hand to mouth transmission can occur after touching contaminated water. Swim Guide shares the best information we have at the moment you ask for it. The activation of the Clean Rivers Project on the Anacostia River is expected to prevent 80% of sewer overflow volume, getting us significantly closer to a swimmable river 365 days a year. The mission of Anacostia Riverkeeper is to protect and restore the Anacostia River for all who live, work, and play in its watershed, and to advocate for a clean river for all its communities. Testing will occur bi-weekly at 7 sites on the upper Anacostia watershed starting in June 2020. If you wish to swim in the Anacostia someday, Franc recommended that you download the Swim Guide app (available on both iOS and Android), which monitors water quality for swimming around the world. By 2023, expect a 98% reduction. Each site will be sampled for bacteria, water temperature, air temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, and turbidity. We may manually set the status for a specific beach if we have concerns about the sampling protocol, if there is an emergency, if monitoring practices don't exist or have recently changed, or other reasons that render this site "special.". The Anacostia River Pool is an initiative to prepare for the day when the Anacostia River is swimmable and fishable. Green means the beach passed water quality tests 95% of the time or more. Green means the beach has historically excellent or pristine water quality, but there is no current data. A small town feel with lots of changes to come. Anacostia Riverkeeper is reporting weekly on its bacteria monitoring results and other contact data. You'd have to take a bus to the Anacostia metro. Testing will occur monthly at 22 sites along the Anacostia River, Rock Creek, and Potomac River starting in May 2020 for bacteria, water temperature, air temperature, pH, and turbidity. Read the feasibility study for more details. Special events, such as triathlons or other competitions that involve water contact require special permits. Read more about one man’s memories of swimming in the Anacostia near the burning Kenilworth Landfill. The risk of high bacteria levels after a heavy rain storm is the only reason it is considered “unsafe” to swim in the river. But at present, it is not … We are investigating various operational models for running a swimming facility, including a publicly managed pool, and private operation, and a public-private partnership. It's a nice paddle, although it became apparent that the waters abutting the nation's capital city rival the Rio summer olympics for water quality. Regular monitoring in the Anacostia shows that water quality already meets safe swimming standards on some days. Practicing social distancing is essential right now. Always obey signs at the beach or advisories from official government agencies. "The overflows in the Anacostia River will be reduced by 98% by 2023. Subscribe to get updates and contact us if you have questions or would like to host a conversation about the project. The Anacostia Riverkeeper group is in its third year of consistently monitoring water quality at several sites in Rock Creek and the Anacostia, in part to track progress toward safe swimming. The feasibility study describes how it is becoming safe to swim in the Anacostia and is, in fact, currently safe on many days, and legal for special events by permission. The Anacostia River Pool initiative is in a very early exploration stage and is considering many different models for swim facilities. Send us an email or share your ideas on Twitter. Like … “It’s still illegal to swim in any body of water in DC,” Sherard says, “but if it had been legal, there were days it would have been safe to swim in the Anacostia this summer.” Illustration by Jason Schneider Back to Top See Legal. The Anacostia River Pool initiative is preparing for those days. Join the Swim Guide community today. Met water quality standards less than 60% of the time. The goal of the swimming facility will be to allow people to swim or wade directly in the clean river water without filtration. Spending a day in any crowded place is the worst thing we can do for our most vulnerable right now and will counter the efforts to curb the virus’ spread. A number of cities have created swimming platforms and “harbor baths,” allowing people to swim directly in restored waters. For more information about results, go to https://www.anacostiariverkeeper.org/water-quality/. Do you have thoughts about what a facility could look like? It is illegal to go swimming in the Great Falls area of the Potomac River, an area also known as Mather Gorge. Capable of hosting other kinds of events during non-pool hours such as concerts, movie nights or fitness classes. Great Falls might be a no-brainer, but what about the calm water, nowhere near the falls, where it looks nice and flat? So when it comes to finding a safe place to swim in the District, this is not it. Nearly every year, there are drowning accidents in this stretch of the river. While it is currently illegal to swim in the river outside of permitted events, and while there are still challenges to be overcome to achieve better water quality and cleaner sediments, we are headed in the right direction. We do not yet have an estimate for how long this project will take to implement. Anacostia River - Northwest Branch is sampled bi-weekly from May 27th to September 16th. This initiative is at a very early stage and we do not yet have cost estimates for a facility, and costs would vary based on the type of facility. We depend on financial support from individuals and organizations to restore and protect access to water for all people. See the beach description for more information regarding their special status. We plan to continue to work with partners to look into technical issues at the same time that we meet with community members and stakeholders to discuss how a swim facility could best serve DC residents. Have thoughts about what a swimming facility should look like? First things first: It is illegal to swim in any of D.C.'s waterways. This site is right by Lane Manor Community Park and Recreational Center. The Anacostia River is designated as a Class A waterway, which means primary contact, however the DC Department of Health (DOH) bans swimming in the Anacostia due to sewage overflows. Other cities are looking into creating their own swimming areas, just like we are. In MD, ARK will have citizen science monitoring in the upper Anacostia watershed, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in partnership with Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Corazón Latino, Friends of Lower Beaverdam Creek and Friends of Sligo Creek. Stay alert and check for other swimming hazards such as dangerous currents and tides. PLEASE NOTE: Although water quality in the Anacostia River is improving, it is currently prohibited to swim in the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and Rock Creek in the District of Columbia. The feasibility study answered some of our big initial questions about swimming in the river, but there are more questions to be answered. This means it is extremely likely there are unsafe levels of bacteria in the river, and it is recommended to be extra cautious if you are close to the river or come in contact with the water. This means that rather than displaying current data it displays the beach's average water quality for that year. Send us an email or share you ideas on Twitter. In 2018, the Anacostia River received its first passing grade from the Anacostia Watershed Society, and based on regular water quality monitoring by the Anacostia Riverkeeper in 2019, the river is safe for swimming on certain days (but not all the time). There’s still work to be done, but we are on our way thanks to significant investments new infrastructure like DC Waters’ Clean Rivers project and years of restoration efforts in the upper watershed in Maryland. And in Rock Creek we will reduce up to 96% of them by 2030." IT IS NOT SAFE TO SWIM IN THE ANACOSTIA. Download the Feasibility Study here (PDF, 9.5mb). The Anacostia River is designated as a Class A waterway, which means primary contact, however the DC Department of Health (DOH) bans swimming in the Anacostia due to sewage overflows. They passed a law making swimming or wading in the Potomac, Anacostia or Rock Creek punishable by a $300 fine or 10 days in jail. Is it safe for District residents to swim in the Potomac? Anacostia River Sediment Project will lead to the restoration of the river bottom, Anacostia Riverkeeper Monitoring provides a live snapshot of water quality during the spring, summer and fall, Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund (DC’s Bag Tax) has reduced plastic bag pollution, Anacostia River Trash Traps keep floatable trash out of the river. Anacostia Riverkeeper (ARK) staff, interns, and volunteers test water quality for citizen science water quality monitoring programs at access points along the watershed in DC and MD waters. The main water quality parameter reported is E. coli, a fecal coliform. When swimming season is over or when a beach's water quality data has not been updated frequently enough (weekly) it goes into historical status. Grey means water quality information for the beach is too old (more than 7 days old) to be considered current, or that info is unavailable, or unreliable. For more information, please visit the World Health Organization public resource on COVID-19. Sometimes, yes! 2018: First passing grade for the Anacostia River on the Anacostia Watershed Society State of the River Report Card. Cities all over the world are restoring and reimagining their waterfronts that were once polluted industrial landscapes. The original “swimmable and fishable” goal was set by the Clean Water Act in 1972: by 1983 all U.S. waters were supposed to be safe for swimming and fishing. If your community has asked that you remain indoors and away from others, do so. In 2018, the Anacostia River received its first passing grade from the Anacostia Watershed Society, and based on regular water quality monitoring by the Anacostia Riverkeeper in 2019, the river is safe for swimming on certain days (but not all the time). Funds to create the pool could come from a variety of sources. Mussels help on both fronts, by reducing organic material that depletes oxygen, and filtering and collecting harmful sediments. Yellow means the beach passed water quality tests 60-95% of the time. Creating a safe, fun and accessible way for children to touch the water of the Anacostia river can begin to address decades of separation between the Anacostia … The amount of sewage in the Anacostia has been reduced dramatically over the past year, and so long as it’s not rained recently there are days when both rivers are technically safe and permitted swim events can take place. Fast forward almost 50 years: Billions of dollars have been spent cleaning up the rivers, and some environmentalists and swimmers say … Hundreds of years ago, people could fish and swim in the Anacostia River without worry, but over time it became so polluted that the prospect of swimming or eating anything from it became absurd. There is also a Fish Consumption Advisory currently in effect. These results were posted to Swim Guide on October 2nd, 2020 at 5:49 PM. 2018: 89% reduction in combined sewer overflow due to DC Water’s Clean Rivers DC project. Swim Guide is a free service that helps to connect millions of people just like you with local beaches and swimming holes. If you won't have a car , you should name your nightly budget and your dates of stay so the experts here can … It bans swimming – except for certain types of special events approved in advance – but that doesn’t help the person who is out at the river and really wants to take a dip, or a paddleboarder who falls in, or a kayaker who rolls or turns over unintentionally. In order to become swimmable and fishable under current EPA guidelines, the Anacostia has to overcome two main problems: sewage overflow and the inflow of sediment and pollutants into the river. 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