Potomac’s water quality keeps improving, but not enough

May 9, 2019

The waters of the Potomac River, especially in the stretch where they form in the mountains and flow past Washington, are getting cleaner. But a new report says there’s still more work to do to get the river as clean as it was once upon a time.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is out with a report Wednesday that says the water quality along the Potomac is vastly improved overall from where it was in the 1980s.

Pollution from nitrogen and phosphorous has been drastically cut in the years since then, and most of that reduction (75%) has been because of the strides waste water treatment plants have made in reducing the amount of harmful nutrients they release into the water.

As a result, research shows that the amount of underwater vegetation in the upper Potomac River is growing, as are populations of fish and other animals that make their homes along the water. And therefore, harmful, fish-killing algae blooms are down significantly in recent years along the upper stretch of the river.
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