World Health Organization public resource on COVID-19. The Swimmable Potomac Campaign is designed to ensure that the Potomac River is safe for swimming, paddling, stand up paddleboarding, and other forms of recreation that involve direct contact with the water. See the beach description for more information regarding their special status. You can also access most of the same waters since VA and MD licenses are both valid for fishing either side of the Potomac. We want all of our rivers to be clean enough that you wouldn’t have a second thought about taking the plunge. The river actually encompasses 383 miles, running from its source in the West Virginia Appalachian Mountains until it empties out into the Chesapeake Bay. In all, 16 people had to be rescued between Saturday and Sunday. Officials with the Potomac Conservancy said there’s roughly 1,000 dolphins have been identified swimming in the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Enter your email below to keep up with our latest news and events. You can fish the Potomac year-round, however, some months are better than others when targeting specific types of species. 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. While they still have a small population size, organisms are that are semi-sensitive to pollution, such as amphipods, have been found in recent years. Red means the beach’s most recent test results failed to meet water quality standards. I’d never wanna walk in. Potomac Riverkeeper Network staff, interns, and volunteers monitor water quality at several locations along the Potomac River in partnership with Alliance for … The activation of the Clean Rivers Project in DC is expected to reduce system wide combined sewage overflow by 96%, bringing the Potomac significantly closer to a swimmable river. But you should also be aware that they cancel the swim leg of that race very regularly due to raw sewage washing into the river after heavy rain. There is one caveat though. U.S. Park Police are searching for a group of men who robbed someone on the bank of the Potomac River in Arlington and forced him to swim across to the District, a spokeswoman said. Drowning deaths and rescues have been reported on waterways in and around the District. Heading to the beach should only be considered an option if social distancing practices can be followed. Violating the law is punishable by a $300 fine or 10 days in jail. But you still shouldn’t swim in it. “It's definitely safe to swim in the Potomac on a perfect summer day,” said Phillip Musegaas, vice-president of programs and litigation for the Potomac Riverkeeper Network. It is illegal to go swimming in the Great Falls area of the Potomac River, an area also known as Mather Gorge. Swimming or wading is legally restricted in the Potomac River by entering the River (a) though any National Capital Region Park (via CFR) and (b) in most areas between Great Falls and the Maryland/Washington, D.C. line (via COMAR). The National Park Service is underscoring the fact that it’s illegal to swim in the Potomac River in the C & O Canal National Historical Park. 23 votes, 13 comments. Potomac Riverkeeper Network staff, interns, and volunteers monitor water quality at several locations along the Potomac River in partnership with Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and other non-profit organizations. When it rains, household sewage from Washington DC and Alexandria combines with polluted stormwater, discharging raw sewage, pet waste, road runoff, and other … This status 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. Not a lot of people swim in there. In many places, the river looks calm on the surface, but invisible underwater currents (and whirlpools), move downward and can pull a person or pet down to the bottom and hold them there; up to 15 - 30 feet below. Parameters to be monitored include E.Coli, total coliform, pH, temperature, and turbidity. There are also several special opportunities to swim this summer where Potomac Riverkeeper is monitoring and, of course, our RiverPalooza events where you can paddle, canoe, or snorkel with the Riverkeepers. We depend on financial support from individuals and organizations to restore and protect access to water for all people. Grey means there is no current water quality information, the beach is under construction, there has been an event that has rendered water quality information unreliable or unavailable. Water quality standards as well as the methods used to determine pass or fail status vary widely across jurisdictions and monitoring programs. It has a map of all the access points that are monitored with green or red. Well... it depends. Off-duty lifeguards, trail hikers save teen trying to swim across Potomac River Nick Boykin 9/14/2020. Anonymous. This status is based on the latest sample, taken on September 16th, 2020. There are also several special opportunities to swim this summer where Potomac Riverkeeper is monitoring and, of course, our RiverPalooza events where you can paddle, canoe, or snorkel with the Riverkeepers. Depending on the timing of our monitoring, we might not catch the results of a recent rainfall. Conditions are already okay for a dip … Sampling sites along the Potomac fall within several jurisdictions and monitoring programs. As Anon User noted, it's the fecal bacteria levels that you really have to … Thousands/millions of people every year go out on the Potomac in a kayak, canoe, stand up paddleboard, or for an open water swim. The COMAR specifically defines, “recreational use” as “activities on the Potomac River, including swimming, bathing, wading, diving, tubing, rafting, and other uses involving contact with the water.” (COMAR 08.06.01.02B(2)(a)). Can you eat the fish from the Anacostia and Potomac? Stormwater overwhelms DC’s sewer systems, causing raw sewage to overflow into the river—one reason why swimming in the river is illegal in and around the District. Green means the beach’s most recent test results met relevant water quality standards. Stay to the shallow areas. The Events D.C. Nation Triathlon has canceled its swim portion of the event due to poor water conditions in the Potomac River. "People want to go swimming to cool off, but danger lurks in all those waters, particularly, the Potomac River. First , PLEASE be careful IF you try to go out into the Potomac. But on just about any summer weekend afternoon there are dozens of boats moored above the Key Bridge, many with people jumping in and out the water. Swim Guide is a free service that helps to connect millions of people just like you with local beaches and swimming holes. If your community has asked that you remain indoors and away from others, do so. A subreddit for those living in and visiting Washington, DC and the immediate … That’s why the Potomac Riverkeeper has launched a Swimmable Potomac Campaign. Nearly every year, there are drowning accidents in this stretch of the river. When Mike Nardolilli was ten, his grandparents brought him to Washington for the first time. The Potomac is famous for NOT having the type of pollution usually found in large urban rivers. We are collecting water quality samples every Wednesday or Thursday, incubating them to let the bacteria grow, analyzing the results, and posting them every Friday by 5 pm on a smart phone app called Swim Guide, so that you will know whether the water is safe. Detailed monitoring results can be found through the Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative's Data Explorer, https://cmc.vims.edu/#/home The primary parameter of concern is E. coli, a fecal coliform. For more information, please visit the World Health Organization public resource on COVID-19. We have to make it safe for people to go in the water. And stormwater also carries pet waste and other contaminants into the rivers when it rains. The water there is shallow and warm in the summer (but I would not put my head under the water, just to be on the safe side.) Monitoring in District of Columbia waters is supported by the DC Department of Energy and Environment through grant #RFA 2018-1805-WQD-VWQM Project #1 to Anacostia Riverkeeper. What are they catching? Public Hearing Transcript. SEE THE FULL SERIES The Delaware River: The reason why Philadelphia exists Flowing for 330 miles from the Catskills to Cape May, the Delaware River watershed is a source of income, drinking water, and recreation for tens of millions of people. These results were posted to Swim Guide on September 20th, 2020 at 10:35 AM. The Potomac River is cleaner now than it has been in decades, thanks largely to upgrades at Washington's sewage plant - and the proof is on the river bottom, where thickets of underwater grass are replacing mud and murk, according to a new scientific study. “In the next 10 years, the Potomac is poised to be the next urban river where you can go swimming,” Belin said. The activation of the Clean … A red "special status" update indicates an abnormal situation such as a severe weather event, construction activity, or a combined sewage overflow (CSO) in the past 48 hours. This means that rather than displaying current data it displays the beach's average water quality for that year. When to Fish the Potomac River. “The river defines a lot of DC,” Belin says. I will be out there myself for the first event, Women on the Water, on June 14th. The DC Primary Contact Water Quality Standards are as follows: • E. coli single sample value = 410 MPN/100mL • E. coli geometric mean = 126 MPN/100mL Potomac sites that are under DC jurisdiction are rated against these values. Look for some off beat creeks to swim in would be my suggestion. The Potomac River is home to one of the most adorable aquatic animals- the river otter. Do you know how else river otters … You are allowed to swim in it upriver of DC a bit – where the water is ‘cleaner’ (actually, it’s quite nice about 50-60 miles upriver near Harpers Ferry). Daley To Feds On Chicago River Cleanup: 'Go Swim In The Potomac' In his typically blunt style, Mayor Richard M. Daley replied Wednesday afternoon to a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency, urging that his city's Chicago River be made clean enough to swim in . From there, it’s an easy run to Cobb Island at the entrance of the Wicomico where you can visit Captain John’s Restaurant in the marina, serving all you can eat crabs and seafood. We are working with a consortium of groups led by the Anacostia Riverkeeper to monitor the Potomac within DC and have launched our own effort to start monitoring the Potomac outside of DC. Commute,” a knock-off name for our 100-mile cruise up the Potomac River to the Nation’s Capital. Beginning on June 5th, site ratings will be determined by calculating the actual geometric mean and comparing it to 126 MPN value. WASHINGTON — The Potomac River just got its report card, ... “You also had a river that would smell a couple of decades ago,” Belin added. These data can be viewed through the Chesapeake Monitoring Collaborative Data Explorer, https://cmc.vims.edu/#/home Despite its designation as a Class A Primary Contact waterway, the DC Department of Health (DOH) bans swimming in the Potomac River citing the risk of high bacteria levels after rainstorms as the only reason it is considered “unsafe” to swim. It is known to be heavily polluted. Action to Amend the Ban on Swimming in the Potomac River and the Anacostia River: Attachment(s): How to Obtain Approval of a Swim Event in the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. Multiple water rescues were required this weekend in the greater D.C. area due to swimmers being stuck on the Potomac River. Stay alert and check for other swimming hazards such as dangerous currents and tides. Monitoring occurs every week from May through September. We stop pollution to promote safe drinking water, protect healthy river habitats, and enhance public use and enjoyment. 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