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Thread: Anacostia River (DC) survey about swimming interest

  1. #1
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    Anacostia River (DC) survey about swimming interest

    Water quality in the Anacostia River (Washington, DC) is improving but it's still not safe for swimming. From what I've read, there's a possibility it might be deemed clean enough for swimming by 2025, and maybe sooner. The DC Department of Energy & Environment is conducting a survey to determine how people would like to be able to use the river in the future (including being able to swim in it). You don't have to be a DC resident to respond to the survey. I'm hoping that if enough people express an interest in swimming in the river that government officials will take this into account in their plans for the river, and then there will finally be a place to swim in open water in the nation's capital city (maybe we can even have a USMS-sanctioned race in it!). https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ANACOSTIA-RIVER-USE

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    Re: Anacostia River (DC) survey about swimming interest

    Ok will do! Hope it gets cleaned up!! that's a long time to wait...How's the Potomac?

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    Very Active Member Sumorunner's Avatar
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    Re: Anacostia River (DC) survey about swimming interest

    Laudable, but not so simple as saying yes we would like to clean it up. I live near the Mohawk River in upstate NY and we've been trying to get it swimmable for decades. From my house, I can see people in kayaks, canoes, jet skis, even water skis, but never swimming. There is an organization called Riverkeeper with a bunch of volunteers that test the waters at regular intervals. The map below shows how the water quality changes from month to month. Much of it is swim-safe as it gets farther from any city, but that can turn on a dime. The cities along the Mohawk are very old with ancient storm drain systems, as I suspect they may be in MD & DC. After any heavy rain, the storm sewer overflows can make it unacceptable again in a flash. Luckily, there is no shortage of good lakes in the area.

    https://www.riverkeeper.org/water-qu.../mohawk-river/

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    Re: Anacostia River (DC) survey about swimming interest

    Quote Originally Posted by DebES View Post
    Ok will do! Hope it gets cleaned up!! that's a long time to wait...How's the Potomac?
    My understanding is that while it's still illegal to swim in the Potomac (except for permitted events such as the Nation's Triathlon), that the water quality is improved enough for swimming except shortly after major rainstorms. I know that the Nation's Triathlon has had to cancel the swim portion of the event twice because of poor water quality.

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    Re: Anacostia River (DC) survey about swimming interest

    Quote Originally Posted by Sumorunner View Post
    Laudable, but not so simple as saying yes we would like to clean it up. I live near the Mohawk River in upstate NY and we've been trying to get it swimmable for decades. From my house, I can see people in kayaks, canoes, jet skis, even water skis, but never swimming. There is an organization called Riverkeeper with a bunch of volunteers that test the waters at regular intervals. The map below shows how the water quality changes from month to month. Much of it is swim-safe as it gets farther from any city, but that can turn on a dime. The cities along the Mohawk are very old with ancient storm drain systems, as I suspect they may be in MD & DC. After any heavy rain, the storm sewer overflows can make it unacceptable again in a flash. Luckily, there is no shortage of good lakes in the area.

    https://www.riverkeeper.org/water-qu.../mohawk-river/
    Cleanup of the Anacostia is already planned and budgeted for. It is no longer a question of if the river will ever be safe again for swimming, but when. The survey is to find out how people plan to use the river so that this information can be taken into account as they make plans. The swimming questions include the duration and frequency that people are interested in being able to swim, and how they want to access the river for swimming (from a beach, from a dock, an in-river swimming pool, or some other way). They also ask at what points on the river would people like to be able to access it for swimming vs. boating.

    This article states
    "DC Water is also playing a critical role in the ongoing cleanup of the Anacostia through the DC Clean Rivers project. This approximately $2 billion project involves the boring of three tunnels and drop shafts that will serve as underground cisterns to collect combined stormwater and sanitary sewer overflow and prevent it from entering the river. The 24-foot diameter tunnels are expected to come into service in the spring of 2018 and will eliminate 96 percent of the source pollutants from the District. The DC Clean Rivers project could bring swimming back to the Anacostia in as little as two years. As a tidal river, it will take some time for the river to cleanse itself of the contaminated waters."
    http://hillrag.com/2017/09/11/the-anacostias-importance-to-us-connectivity-and-community/

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