Legislation to Study Safe Public Swimming Sites in the Potomac River Applauded by PRKN

Thanks to Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton for her Leadership in Requesting Study to Identify Locations for Public Beaches

Washington, D.C. – December 22Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN) commended Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D – DC) for sponsoring and the U.S. Congress for passing legislation to identify public swimming beach locations in the Potomac River in the District of Columbia, PRKN President Nancy Stoner announced today.

“Thanks to leadership by Congresswoman Holmes Norton, the final version of the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (WRDA), passed today, contains provisions authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a study on the feasibility of safe swimming in the Potomac and Anacostia rivers in D.C,” said Stoner.

Dean Najuoks, Potomac Riverkeeper, when asked about the legislation’s importance to recreation, said, “As a result of the Congresswoman’s bills to redevelop the Southwest and Southeast waterfronts, community engagement with the water has been reinvigorated.  Studying the feasibility of swimming in the Potomac is the next logical step to maximize the benefits of D.C.’s beautiful waterways.”

 The Water Resources Development Act would mandate a feasibility study, to be completed no later than 36 months after enactment, to assess and consider open water swimming access in the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers in DC with consideration of water quality, current, security, and other water safety considerations, and the practicality of public access, transportation, and other necessities to support public swimming access.

Stoner concluded, “Swimming in our local river is a right too long denied to DC residents and visitors. PRKN’s three year old Water Quality Monitoring program and the reports it publishes have demonstrated that the water is frequently safe for human contact.  Now, what we need is for the DC government to lift the ban on swimming and to create open, public beaches with daily monitoring for water safety so that everyone can enjoy swimming in our hometown rivers.” 

About Potomac Riverkeeper Network

Potomac Riverkeeper Network is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization with three regional Waterkeeper branches: Potomac Riverkeeper, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, and Shenandoah Riverkeeper. Our mission is to protect the public’s right to clean water in the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and their tributaries. We stop pollution to enhance the safety of our drinking water, protect healthy river habitats, and enhance public use and enjoyment.

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