I figured that I was going to jump out of the water and my skin was going to fall off or something like that. Here in Washington, D.C., a bright green mat of algae used to clog the Potomac River each summer. "Go swim in the Potomac," Daley said at a City Hall news conference about police issues. GARDNER: I have been in water far nastier than this. We want all of our rivers to be clean enough that you wouldn’t have a second thought about taking the plunge. WATERS REGARDLESS OF THE CURRENT STATUS** A “green” rating demonstrates that the level of E. coli at the time of sampling falls beneath the limit of 126 MPN/100 ml, the numeric standard used for this citizen science initiative to determine whether DC waters are safe and clean enough for primary contact recreation, e.g. info@nacwa.org, Advancing Smarter Regulations & Enforcement, Promoting Innovation to Address 21st Century Challenges, Excellence in Management Recognition Program, National Environmental Achievement Award Program, Utility of the Future Today Recognition Program, Promoting Innovation for 21st Century Challenges. You could have just a general swim area. 23. Daley says the Chicago River, once little more than an above-ground sewer, is now much cleaner, thanks to local anti … This summer is likely to be a little different from summers past. More than 40 years later, the river still has issues, but it’s much cleaner—earning a B in the Potomac Conservancy’s most recent report card, issued in 2018. We swim/ski/tube behind our boat, but walking in from the shoreline would be a muddy mess. It is illegal to go swimming in the Great Falls area of the Potomac River, an area also known as Mather Gorge. 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. Let’s Go Swimming in the Chicago River! WASHINGTON — The Potomac River just got its report card, and the news is quite good.. It’s safe enough, but it’s hella muddy at the shoreline. Having lived for years in D.C., I never saw a dolphin there. E&E News The Potomac River is in its best shape in decades, marking an extraordinary recovery from just a few years ago, according to the Potomac Conservancy's annual report. Though he was kind of right about the Potomac, not the only civic river to face substantial cleanup issues. Like … Emanuel’s statement is in response to the EPA’s demand that local officials make the Chicago River clean enough to swim in - and the feds are threatening to step in if they don’t. Swimming has been banned in some of the nation's urban rivers for decades because of pollution. At some point, I might clean up enough to swim in, but due to debris and current it will probably always remain no swimming through DC. “Do we commit to providing safe, clean water for future generations and restoring this river? Even in recent years, after stronger cleanup efforts, the Nation’s Triathlon has … Do not swallow water. So how's the water? It is illegal to go swimming in the Great Falls area of the Potomac River, an area also known as Mather Gorge. As part of the utility’s Clean Rivers Project, the combined sewer overflows, that have heavily polluted the Anacostia and Potomac rivers in the past, will decrease by 98% by the year 2023. The first phase of the project, the Anacostia River Tunnel Project, came online March 2018. Washington’s ambitious “Vision for a Sustainable D.C.” sets the bold goal of making the Potomac River—and all other urban waterways in the district—swimmable and fishable by 2032. As far as the pollution, the river has a B rating. The city banned swimming in the river starting in the 1980s because of severe pollution then, but the ban persists even though the river is a lot cleaner now, … FENSTON: Washington, D.C., is one of 700 cities around the country where antiquated sewer systems regularly overflow into nearby waterways when it rains. In Washington, D.C., the Potomac River achieves primary contact status about half the time, also thanks to implementation of Clean Water Act standards, said Nancy Stoner, president of the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, a nonprofit. A Tidal Estuary Authorities now say significant progress has been made, with some species of fish absent for decades now returning and the river clean enough to swim in on some days of the year. WAMU wrote this week on steps the city and others are taking to make the Potomac and the Anacostia rivers swimmable. the Potomac Riverkeeper asked. The sandy beach has a designated swimming area with lifeguards, as well as grills, picnic tables, and a playground. Potomac River could soon be clean enough for a swim — report . 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 . In fact, it's been illegal to swim in any D.C. waterway since the early 1970s. There are enough hazards in this section that even the best kayakers can have trouble navigating the rapids. The Potomac Conservancy gave the river a “B-” on the “Potomac Report Card” it issued in March, stating that the river is on track to be swimmable and fishable by 2025. Storm flows spike bacteria levels, which decrease with time. 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)). Ask A Robot ... noting that swimming is illegal in any D.C. waterways. Just ten years earlier, it got a D. About three-quarters of this area’s drinking water is pulled from the Potomac… FENSTON: Merrill St. Leger is an urban planner. It is illegal to wade and swim in the water of the Potomac River. Ten years ago, the Potomac Conservancy rated the river’s health with a “D” grade. Potomac River 7.5 Mile Swim CANCELLED IN 2020 DUE TO COVID-19. Potomac River could soon be clean enough for a swim — report. It is sometimes safe, but after large storm events bacteria counts go way up. 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. Upgrading our infrastructure (i.e sewage tunnels and treatment facilities) and creating and upholding adequate regulations can help to resolve this major form of pollution. The sample had 240 colony-forming units of enterococci bacteria per 100 milliliters of water –up from a safe level in the dry-weather sample. This group has been swimming in the Potomac weekly for the past decade just outside the D.C. border where swimming isn't officially banned. I’d never wanna walk in. And he says there are two obstacles to swimming in the Anacostia. Save the Date: 2030 Within 15 years, the waters flowing through the midwestern metropolis could be clean enough for a dip. WATER POLLUTION Potomac River could soon be clean enough for a swim — report Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Besides the beauty and recreation it provides, the area pulls nearly 400 million gallons of water a day out of it—about 90 percent of our drinking water. We stop pollution to promote safe drinking water, protect healthy river habitats, and enhance public use and enjoyment. I have many fond memories of summer days spent swimming, tubing, wading, and just lounging in and around the rivers and lakes that I have been fortunate enough to live near. Now it's possible to get a special permit for swim events. There are similar examples in Paris and Zurich, and there are plans in the works in London, Boston and New York City. Although this activity relates the story of the Potomac River and the history of Washington, D.C., similar situations exist in many watersheds throughout the country. f 888.267.9505 And for the first time in many years, people are starting to ask what swimming could look like in D.C.'s rivers. FENSTON: Jeffrey Matthews is watching his two young kids splash around in the shallow water but not in the river. Clean Rivers Project, a $2.6 billion initiative aimed at eliminating pollution from the city’s waterways. "We're trying to make this river every day cleanable, more cleanable." 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