Swimming in Potomac River could soon be allowed as water quality improves

You might soon be able to go for a swim in the Potomac River.

It hasn't been allowed for decades because of water quality concerns, but now with improved numbers, advocates want the Potomac River swimming ban in D.C. lifted.

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

The Potomac Riverkeeper Network tells FOX 5 that while swimming is off limits now, it doesn't have to stay that way.

Environmental data over the last three years shows the water quality is so improved that D.C.'s ban against swimming in the Potomac River no longer matches up with the reality of the improved water quality.

Potomac Riverkeeper's Dean Naujoks tells FOX 5 they've found data in the last three years that shows several spots on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers levels with bacteria so low that it's safe to swim.

The group wants D.C., which controls much of the river, to end the swim ban.

READ MORE: How to reduce your carbon footprint: Practical tips for day-to-day life

"Well, you know our goal is we want the swim ban lifted in Washington DC right," says Naujoks. "To make it open for everybody to swim and use this river, but secondly we do want to see swimming areas in locations."

Potomac Riverkeeper Network has an online petition calling for the swimming ban to be lifted.


A spokesperson for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's office says the mayor's goal is to allow swimming in District waters at some point, adding that she's encouraged to see the data indicated the Potomac is often safe for swimming.