High water levels can cause a normally safe section of the river to have a strong and dangerous current. 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 … That isn’t so true any more. Except for parks and other facilities where swimming and wading is a sanctioned activity, water monitoring is done at often far-spread stations, usually monthly. These pipes are in the process of getting fixed, but before they are, wait out the overflow aftermath. 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). People with immunosuppressive diseases should avoid direct contact with the river. Bacteria levels can change rapidly with rain events. This kind of pollution frequently affects the Anacostia River and Rock Creek, and can affect the adjacent segment of the Potomac. If you’re unsure, download the Swim Guide app! People who want to know about bacterial levels in their local waterway should start with their county health department. All Rights Reserved. Subject: Re:Can you swim in the Potomac River? 100% Privacy. Anacostia Riverkeeper is reporting weekly on its bacteria monitoring results and other contact data. While many do not give it a second thought, others wonder about the safety and cleanliness of the water in the Potomac River and its tributaries. their results are available on Swim Guide, along with those of many other areas and beaches. Bottom line: There are lots of local spots where it is both legal and safe to swim. “DO NOT swim anywhere in this area. There are countless swimming spots across our region – from the sandy beaches at Point Lookout, to backyard streams and creeks. Avoid algae blooms (brightly colored water) and trash in the water. Dogs can swallow a lot of water while splashing around in the river, which increases their risk of getting sick. I would not even want to do water sports on the Potomac where my mouth might get splashed with that water. Anonymous: The fish are becoming intersex in the Potomac. 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. I would not even want to do water sports on the Potomac where my mouth might get splashed with that water. If you’re curious about a particular water hole or spot on the Potomac River, there are ways to find out if it’s safe on any given day. If you are searching by state, the Potomac River is located in Maryland. Get a taste of the salt life at Point Lookout State Park in … So check Swim Guide, make sure it hasn’t rained on Thursday or Friday, and then you’ll know that it is generally safe to swim. The waterpark features a massive wave pool, perfect for staying cool all day long. Study finds the Potomac is getting saltier, threatening drinking water and wildlife, 7 local animals making a comeback thanks to clean water, Top threats to native fish in the Potomac River, Report gives the Anacostia River its first ever passing grade, Potomac River study reveals close link between air and water pollution, Nation's Triathlon launches partnership with Potomac Conservancy. 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 upper Potomac north of Violets Lock/Seneca and south from Roosevelt Island is fine to swim in, from the perspective of dangerous currents. © 2021, Potomac Conservancy, Silver Spring, MD. However, when it grows very rapidly it forms a “bloom” that rises in the water column to form a bright green sheet on the surface and may be harmful, causing sickness in humans. You can bring power boats to the Potomac River and Sleepy Creek Lake in the wildlife management area. Carefully inspect the flow before dipping your toes in the water and pay attention to local weather patterns. You can run your own test for e.coli or let others do the testing for you- local citizen scientists are regularly testing our waters and uploading data to the Swim Guide app! Is the Potomac still too polluted to swim in? That sounds strange, so let’s clear up a few points and to provide tips to keep your summer cool. Trees and other large debris can lurk just below the water's surface and pose serious danger to those in the river. Some of these substances are known or thought to be endocrine disruption compounds that can interfere with hormonal systems in humans and in the creatures that call the river home. They have a triathlon in DC every year and the swim portion is in the Potomac. Theswimguide.org provides weather and water quality data for some areas around the basin. Check water levels and the weather before heading out. “The Potomac River around Chain Bridge is treacherous and deceiving,” the fire department tweeted. Algae makes up the base of the aquatic food chain and is essential for healthy waters. The only places the Potomac is dangerous (due to undercurrents) is the area around Great Falls and immediately downstream, and in the area of above Chain Bridge to down just south of Three Sisters Islands. Be sure to check river levels before you come and know your skill level before attempting to boat on this section of the Potomac. Watch the current carefully and keep the dog away from areas that may be too swift for them. If you do choose to swim, wade, canoe, or kayak in the Potomac, here are ways to limit your risk: Do not enter the water for several days after a significant rainstorm. If you like wacky and fun, you can’t go wrong when you visit Six Flags America in Bowie. Well, if you saw our latest report card, you’d see that the river’s health has improved from a D to a B in ten years. Nearly every year, there are drowning accidents in this stretch of the river. Experience the beauty and grace of the Potomac River during a 2-Way crossing or a swim to mid point and back for a single crossing. It's a common question we hear from concerned folks in the Washington, DC area- especially in these hot summer months. Don’t let the calm-looking water fool you! Septic systems in rural areas, which are largely unregulated, also can fail or be overloaded by rains. It is known to be heavily polluted. "Is it safe to swim in the Potomac River?". Since 1971, District law has banned swimming or wading in the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers as well as Rock Creek. Department of Health Swimming Advisories and Monitored Beaches Map. Do not swallow water. Bottom line: It is illegal to swim between Great Falls and the Maryland/DC line. Cunningham Falls State Park. For more on harmful blue-green algae blooms, visit Maryland Department of the Natural Resources Eyes on the Bay. “It was 1966, and I remember visiting Mount Vernon and going down to the dock,” recalls Nardolilli, now executive director of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River … Belle Haven Marina is located directly down river from Hunting Creek where Alexandria discharges three of its four major CSO outfalls (Outfall 002, 003 and 004). Recently, the Potomac and Anacostia riverkeepers, along with other groups, perform weekly bacteria monitoring of a network of sites in the metropolitan area. To that end, the Potomac Riverkeeper Network announced Tuesday it will monitor water quality from six points along the river using a floating lab built into a 42-foot boat called the Sea Dog. People also swim, kayak and sail in the Potomac River. One of our favorite spots for cooling off on the river is Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. It is illegal to go swimming in the Great Falls area of the Potomac River, an area also known as Mather Gorge. ) and trash in the Potomac river region treat to a high,... Even the best kayakers can have trouble navigating the rapids download the swim Guide, along with those many... Attention to local weather patterns extra mindful when allowing your four-legged friend in the Potomac where can you swim in the potomac river,... * WARNING: swimming is PROHIBITED in D.C personal care products, cleaners! 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