Anacostia River Splash!

Due to the incoming extreme weather event and potential tropical storm that is forecast to hit the DC area this weekend, we are going to be canceling Splash on September 23rd.

The forecast shows heavy rain, low temperatures, and strong gusts of wind which would make it unsafe to have swimmers in the water. We are extremely disappointed to cancel our event but for the safety of all of the splashers, staff, and volunteers, this is the correct call.

The good news is water quality results at Kingman Island came in four times below EPA recreational standards. 

It may not happen this time, but Splash will happen! Stay tuned for when!

Celebrating milestones towards

a swimmable Anacostia River!

In 1971, swimming or wading in the Anacostia River and other District waters was made illegal due to safety concerns about water quality. Since then, through the work of Anacostia Riverkeeper and other local advocacy groups, water quality has dramatically improved. Our DC Citizen Science Water Quality Monitoring Program has tracked this progress and found low bacteria levels at key recreational sites on the Anacostia.

In 2018, the DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) implemented an amendment to the swim ban to allow permitted swim events in District waters Anacostia. We are utilizing this process to host the inaugural Splash!

Splash gives DC area residents the chance to swim and reconnect with the Anacostia River – and make history at the first permitted swim in the Anacostia River in over 50 years.

Read our full press release here.

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.


What should I expect?

  1. Participants will be able to swim briefly in the river off the Kingman Island Dock next to the Benning Road Bridge during a designated time slot. All participants must be 18 years old or older, comfortable swimming and treading in deep water and able to climb in and out of the water via a dock ladder. You must stay within the designated swim area.
  2. Swimming is only allowed for registered participants during their pre-registered 20-minute swim slot. Swimmers may only register for one swim slot. Participants can only splash in the timeframe they purchased their ticket for as we are unable to transfer time slots. Please ensure that you arrive at least 15-minutes prior to your check-in time!
  3. This event is contingent on water quality results from the days prior. There is no alternate date for this event.
  4. Event updates and other details for the event will be distributed to participants via email before the event. To ensure you receive important updates, please provide an email address that you check regularly.
  5. Access to the dock and swim area will be strictly limited to registered swimmers. If participants have guests wanting to watch the event take place, we will have two spectator locations.
  6. A bag check and rinse-off station will be available. We encourage you to only bring essentials including: towel, water shoes, sunscreen, etc.
  7. Lifeguards and an EMT will be on duty during this event.

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 [email protected]

Splash 2023 Event Map & Directions