Restoration efforts on the Anacostia River have been ongoing for 20 years through groups like Anacostia Watershed Restoration Committee, Anacostia Watershed Toxic Alliance, and other business and environmental groups. However, the Anacostia River is not swimmable and fishing is highly regulated and limited. Past studies of the river revealed that a good portion of the river has unacceptably high levels of metals, pathogens, bacteria, pesticides, herbicides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other chemicals in the sediments. Waterborne bacteria found in the river can cause human illnesses and low levels of dissolved oxygen, which harms fish and aquatic life and impairs sections of the river.
In launching the project, For a Cleaner Anacostia River, the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) has taken the lead in transforming the Anacostia River into a fishable and swimmable river by 2032. This important project aligns with Mayor Gray’s overall vision for a cleaner, greener and sustainable capital city. To fulfill these long-term goals, DDOE has approved a $41.5 million budget for Anacostia River remediation efforts through fiscal year 2019.
A major project aimed at cleaning up the river is the For a Cleaner Anacostia River initiative. The first major step in the initiative, formally titled the Anacostia River Sediment Project, is the remedial investigation work plan. The objective of the plan is to assess the nature and extent of pollution in the river by sampling river sediment and fish for a wide variety of chemicals. Sampling is currently underway. Tetra Tech, an international consulting, engineering, and technical service company, has been awarded the general remediation service contract to implement the work plan and any other necessary fieldwork.
Additionally, separate work is underway at other locations on the lower Anacostia River. At most of these sites, the cleanup will address the portion of sediments within a defined area around the site. The links to the websites associated with a few of these projects are provided below:
- Pepco Benning Road Facility Plans and Deliverables
- The National Park Service (NPS) is currently pursuing following cleanup projects which can be found at the following links.