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No one has been allowed to swim in the Anacostia River for 50 years, and this phase will continue for at least a few more weeks, as the first Anacostia River Splash in Washington DC has been postponed due to E. coli bacteria in the water.

The event was scheduled to take place on Saturday, but Anacostia River Warden Trey Sherard said he received test results Saturday morning that confirmed the results were “above recreational E. coli standards,” according to organizers.

This is the third time the event has been postponed, the first two being in 2023 due to heavy rain. Sherard claimed that water levels were still safe earlier in the week, but a “small storm” on Wednesday evening must have caused them to rise.

“No sewage overflows have been documented,” he confirmed. Sherard said he has not observed any symptoms of E. coli infection, which can include diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, fever and more.

He mentioned that a two-story, 12-mile-long tunnel has reduced the amount of sewage flowing into the Anacostia River by 98%.


Organizers of the Anacostia River Splash said they will attempt to hold the event for the fourth time on July 13, two weeks after unsafe E. coli levels. On their website, they promise to “offer local residents a rare opportunity to swim in the river and reconnect with it.”

The Washington Examiner has reached out to event organizers and the CDC for comment.

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