Water & Pollution Monitoring

Water & Pollution Monitoring

The Anacostia Watershed Society is the only organization that conducts regular comprehensive monitoring of water quality and pollution in the Anacostia River.  Using data reported by government agencies as well as our own weekly monitoring and water sampling, we conduct analysis and identify trends and threats that shape our strategy.  

We monitor several key indicators of water quality, including:

  • Amount of dissolved oxygen, which indicates the river’s ability to support aquatic life;
  • Fecal bacteria, which goes up after major storms overwhelm the combined sewer system and stormwater washes pet waste into the river;
  • Water clarity;
  • Submerged aquatic vegetation, an important indicator of the river’s improving health;
  • Stormwater runoff volume;
  • Toxic sediments, buried in the river bottom and banks -- a legacy of a century of industrial activity along the river;
  • Trash, which we capture and categorize using trash traps we have installed along several tributaries.

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