The District of Columbia is a partner in the Trash Free Potomac Watershed Treaty. The goal of the treaty is a trash free watershed by 2013. The Anacostia River, an urban tributary to the Potomac River, has a severe problem with excessive trash. This has resulted in both the District of Columbia and State of Maryland determining that pollution has impaired the quality of the river to the point that trash loads must be reduced. The two entities have agreed to use the Anacostia as a model of how to reduce trash in a river and move toward a trash free Potomac Watershed.
The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) decided to undertake a systematic assessment of the types and sources of trash. This assessment is needed to develop a five year plan to make significant reductions in the amount of trash in the Anacostia River.