Water Quality Monitoring

Masaya Maeda, AWS Water Quality Specialist,
taking measurements of the river water quality

Fecal Bacteria Finding

Anacostia Watershed Society has been monitoring the tidal Anacostia River extensively since 2002.  The parameters we monitor are:

  • pH
  • Water Temperature
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Conductivity
  • Secchi Disk Depth
  • Fecal bacteria 

Our fecal bacteria monitoring revealed that upstream tidal Anacostia is more polluted than downstream Anacostia.  This is a surprising finding because downstream Anacostia was previously believed to be filthier due to the Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs).  DC’s Combined Sewer System is designed to discharge raw sewage into the Anacostia, Rock Creek, and the Potomac when it rains over 0.5 inches.  This finding helped file a lawsuit against WSSC and settle a consent decree.

Monitoring Effort

In 2011, AWS acquired a small motor boat which enabled us to expand our monitoring effort.  AWS can now take 9 samples along the tidal river to better assess the health of the river.  The skiff enables us to become a better watchdog for the river.  A 2011 sampling station map is shown below.

AWS 2011 Monitoring Stations

The monitoring data we collect will be used to assess the river and produce our annual river report.  Take a look at our first State of the Anacostia River Report.



We offer a variety of volunteer opportunities that will engage your hands, your head, and your heart in the protection and restoration of our local lands and water.

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November 28

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