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Anacostia River Splash 2023

September 23 @ 12:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Did you know that kids used to splash around in the Anacostia River in the summer? Since 1971, swimming or wading in the Anacostia River and other District waters has been illegal due to safety concerns around water quality. Today, this urban waterway that runs through the heart of DC is perceived as dirty and unhealthy. Despite the environmental issues still facing the Anacostia River, water quality has drastically improved over the past few decades. We are as close as we have ever been to bringing back a swimmable Anacostia. In celebration of these water quality milestones, Anacostia Riverkeeper will be hosting the first permitted swim event in the river in over 50 years!

Access to abundant, healthy spaces for outdoor recreation is vital for the wellbeing of our communities. In an urban environment like DC, it is especially important to have access to natural water resources. Our communities should be able to recreate freely and safely in all areas of the Anacostia.

Join us on September 23rd to make a splash towards a swimmable Anacostia! Splash will provide a rare chance for residents to swim in and reconnect with the river. Contingent on water quality results the week prior, participants will be able to swim briefly in the river off the Kingman Island Dock next to the Benning Road Bridge during a designated 20-minute time slot from 12-4:30 PM.


Swimming is still illegal in District waters and you may only swim during a sanctioned Special Swim Event like this one with a permit from DC Department of Energy and the Environment. We do not encourage swimming in the river outside of these events.

Questions? Send them to


September 23
12:00 pm - 4:30 pm


Anacostia Riverkeeper
View Organizer Website


Kingman and Heritage Islands Park
Washington, D.C. + Google Map