approximately 1/3 of brown bullhead catfish have cancerous 
tumors or lesions because of toxics (US Fish and Wildlife)

Toxic pollution in the river is one of the main reasons that it is not safe to swim in or eat fish from the Anacostia River. A toxic substance is a chemical or mixture that may be harmful to environmental and human health. A legacy toxic site has been identified as a well known, high risk location that has been contaminating the environment for a long period of time. 

There are 6 known legacy toxic sites along the Anacostia River:

  • Kenilworth Park (former DC dump)
  • Pepco's Benning Road Facility (former coal and oil-fired power plant and current maintenance yard)
  • CSX Benning Rail Road Yard (currently still used as a rail yard)
  • Washington Gas (former coal gasification plant)
  • Washington Navy Yard/Southeast Federal Center (former heavy industrial site)
  • Poplar Point at Anacostia Park (former federal facility of various uses and pollutants)

Read about our Current Campaigns to find out more information about each site and what action is being taken. Our History of Legacy Toxic Sites gives past information about legal action against these sites. Our blog post also highlights background information on these efforts.

A new initiative to investigate the legacy contamination in the Anacostia River is being led by the District Department of Energy and the Environment called the Anacostia River Sediment Project (For a Cleaner Anacostia River). This is a major effort to investigate legacy contaminants in the river bed and determine what actions should be taken to clean them up. We have been advocating alongside many of our partners for this for many years. Stay tuned to our blog for the most up to date information.



Blog Posts

To see all of our blog posts related to toxics, click here.


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