[Check out how some local stream restoration projects have addressed erosion issues with nature-based solutions.]. Facilities in West Virginia that discharge pollution into the [Maryland-owned] Potomac River often follow much weaker standards than their Maryland counterpart. DC became one of the first cities in the country to ban straws. Because EDCs are found in such a wide variety of products, they enter local rivers and streams in many ways. Potomac River Polluted With Harmful Chemicals A study by the US Geological Survey discovered pollutants that contain endocrine disrupters in several tributaries of Washington, D.C.’s Potomac River. Options include digging up and removing the affected sediment or covering the affected sediment with a clean replacement. As pollution in the Potomac River increases, health concerns are at an all-time high. Phosphorus levels are improving in the long term (since 1985) but are degrading in the short term (since 2007); phosphorus levels have been on the rise in the last three years. Nutrient pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus -- two of the biggest sources of pollution to the Potomac -- is also on the decline. The EPA set a pollution reduction goal for sediment loads in the Potomac at 2.26 billion pounds* per year by 2025. Holly Faye Goldberg. How do they get in the Potomac? In 1971, almost 200 years after Adams swam in the Potomac, the D.C. health department banned swimming in the river. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment are top pollutants found in the Potomac River and its tributaries. Human population growth impacts water sources because . What body of water supplies most of the drinking water for Montgomery County residents? Increased urban and suburban development and the conversion of natural landscapes to agriculture or forestry production, changes the rate at which water is absorbed by and flows across the landscape. D.C. grew over the years (see Appendix). This kind of pollution frequently affects the Anacostia River and Rock Creek, and can affect the adjacent segment of the Potomac. Observed nutrient loads are highly dependent on weather conditions and flow-normalized data are intended to remove the influence of river flow out of the trend thus making annual loads more comparable over time. When it rains, rainwater that would ordinarily be absorbed into the soil by vegetation instead flows over the land, overwhelms streams and creeks, and tears up the banks, carrying large amounts of dirt downstream. Although this activity relates the story of the Potomac River and the history of Washington, D.C., Dear Neighbor: Why I fight for the Potomac River. All Rights Reserved. Efforts to reduce and filter polluted runoff are beginning to show progress, but more work is required to meet stormwater reduction targets. Polluted runoff from urban and suburban areas is the second largest source of water pollution in Carroll County’s creeks and rivers. The EPA tracks the flow of pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by using modeled estimates of pounds per year saved by best management practices (BMPs). Though PCBs have not been manufactured in the United States since they were banned in 1979, they are still polluting our rivers and streams decades later because the chemicals do not break down easily. Photo by MATT RATH/CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM. You’ll receive our next monthly River Update email with river news, wildlife stories, and fun- and usually free- outdoor events. There are a variety of ways that pollution occurs in a river, but there seems to be excess pollution in … Maryland passed a state-wide ban of Styrofoam food and beverage containers this year. recited is by no means an admission that the Potomac may be converted into a stream of liquid filth. Channel erosion is the process by which the banks (aka the channel) of a river or stream erodes away. Eels are nearly extinct in the Potomac River. Six states and the District of Columbia must meet their pollution reduction goals by 2025. They are believed to be the cause of intersex fish in the Potomac and other rivers throughout the country. There’s been some serious momentum in the fight against pollution lately. Who Polluted the Potomac? Ahead of the next report, we will assess the new sediment target and the methodology by which the Committee arrive at this new goal. The river (main stem and North Branch) is approximately 405 miles (652 km) long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles (38,000 km 2). Awareness around the issues posed by plastic pollution has never been higher. Photo BY Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program. The gasses coming out of the smokestacks combine with moisture in the air to form acids. FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES 1. The aquatic life in the Potomac River and therefore the Chesapeake Bay has suffered immensely over the last 200 years because of many factors. Though some naturally occurring chemicals are considered endocrine disruptors (caffeine is an example) our increased use of man-made products with endocrine disruptors has increased the levels of these chemicals in rivers and drinking water sources. Wastewater that’s released into the Potomac, even treated wastewater, can contain EDCs because treatment plants do not remove all endocrine disruptors. The… The 405 mile-long body of water that travels from the Potomac Highlands to Chesapeake Bay is a home to the marine mammals despite beliefs it still may not be safe for humans to swim in. Polluted runoff can carry pesticides and plastics into the Potomac when it rains. Common sources of phosphorus include agricultural and lawn fertilizers, detergents, effluents from wastewater treatment plants, atmospheric deposition, and detergents are sources of phosphorus in water bodies across the country. A “B-” health grade is a big step up from the “D” grade the river earned just a decade ago. Agricultural runoff is also a main source of EDCs in the Potomac. The Potomac River watershed ‒ the area of land that drains to the river ‒ covers 14,670 square miles across four states (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia) and Washington, D.C. More than half of the Potomac River watershed is forested. In addition, emerging threats, such as harmful bacteria and road salt, could pose challenges as they aren’t regulated or enforced under the Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan, a federal-state partnership to lower pollution and restore the region’s water quality. Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognising you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting and useful. Nitrogen levels in the Potomac are improving in the long term (since 1985) and in the short term (since 2007). PHOTO BY DAVE HARP/BAY JOURNAL. USGS data from non-tidal waters confirmed an estimated load of 44.6 million pounds in 2018. Fright #1: Endocrine disruptors Bear with us, this is about to get a little strange. Thanks to decades of hard work following the Clean Water Act of 1972, many indicators of the Potomac’s health are trending in the right direction. Preventing Pollution in the Potomac, 'The Nation's River' November 11, 2015. Streambank erosion occurs naturally as streams and rivers wind their way across the landscape; however, excessive erosion threatens water quality, habitat, and public health. Thank you! Unfortunately, similar to nitrogen loads, phosphorus loads in urban and suburban stormwater runoff continue to increase. The pollution arising from the natural drainage of occupied land is a reasonable one. Rain also washes litter directly into the water or into storm drains. In the Upper Potomac River wastershed, about 21 percent of the nitrogen pollution comes from Based on data from 2018 and 2019, heavier-than-average rainfall likely played an outsized role in the outcome, too. What can be done to prevent channel erosion? Researchers have found more than 1,000 bottlenose dolphins in the Potomac River - an area that was once so badly polluted it was called a 'national disgrace' by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Unfortunately, much of what our local rivers and streams experience is excessive channel erosion, which can have harmful effects on water quality and wildlife. Potomac River Polluted With Harmful Chemicals. The story is meant to be read aloud by an. History PCBs can still be found in sediment, which leeches into the water. The Potomac Conservancy, a clean water advocacy group, issued the river a “B” rating – indicating improved pollution levels and healthier river life. ju~t . PHOTO BY ALICIA PIMENTAL/CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM. PlASTIC BOTTLES, A SOURCE OF EDCs, WASHED INTO A CREEK BY STORMWATER. There are a few actions you can take now to help: keep plastics and trash out of our waterways by volunteering for cleanups; advocate for enhancements to wastewater treatment facilities to local officials; reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides; and install nature-based filtration solutions that capture and filter pollution before it gets to the river. Water pollution happens because . 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