Trash Mitigation

Trash is one of the most widespread pollutants affecting the Anacostia.

With over 70% of the watershed classified as “developed”, the Anacostia is constantly threatened by urban pollutants like stormwater, sewage, and most noticeably, litter and debris. The Anacostia is one of only three rivers in the United States that the EPA has deemed “impaired by trash”, imposing a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the river. Anacostia Riverkeeper’s work in trash mitigation is vital to both Maryland and the District of Columbia in helping them reduce the River’s TMDL.

Through trash cleanups, innovative technologies like Bandalong® trash traps and Seabins®, and hard work from our volunteers, we are working towards a trash free Anacostia.

2023 Anacostia Trash Tally

lbs. of trash removed from the river by Anacostia Riverkeeper
lbs. of plastic bottles
lbs. of plastic products
lbs. of glass
lbs. of food wrappers

Totals from Clean Waterways Cleanups, updated quarterly

How We Do It

Trash Cleanups

Volunteer trash cleanups at key locations throughout the watershed are how we remove the lion’s share of trash from the Anacostia each year. Through our Clean Waterways cleanups, corporate sponsored cleanups, and other cleanup events throughout the year, we engage volunteers to come out and help protect their rivers and shorelines. Volunteers, grabbing some gloves and a trash grabber, also clean our local parks and stream banks.

We host cleanups periodically throughout the year, so check our Events Calendar page for our next cleanup and pitch in to help us achieve a #TrashFreeAnacostia.

Bandalong® Litter Traps

Bandalong® Litter Traps are custom-designed litter traps that are installed in-stream to capture floatable trash without obstructing the flow of water or harming wildlife.

In 2008, we installed the first Bandalong® Litter Trap located in the western hemisphere along Watts Branch of the Anacostia in Washington D.C. To date, we manage eight across the watershed, four in the District of Columbia and four in Maryland. Each trap is custom made by Storm Water Systems out of Atlanta, Georgia and is designed specifically for the area of the river or stream where it’s to be installed.

Bandalong® Traps are floating. They move up and down with the water level. They are cleaned out at regular intervals to keep them functioning properly and to ensure removal of the most trash.

Seabin® Litter Traps

Seabins® are the newest litter trap we’ve adopted to help fight trash pollution in the District of Columbia. Seabins® are installed at key locations on the mainstem Anacostia, like marinas and boathouses, and serve as static collectors of trash that can collect around hardened structures along the river.

Acting like “river vacuum cleaners” Seabins® suck water into their collection baskets, capturing floatable trash for later removal from the River. In 2021, thanks to a grant from the District Department of Energy and Environment, we installed two new Seabins® at Yards Marina in the Navy Yard and will install three more along the Washington Channel and the Wharf in 2022.