Photo by Anacostia Riverkeeper

DC Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring

Collaboration and Water Quality Monitoring

The DC Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Project began in 2018 by Anacostia Riverkeeper. In 2022, the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) awarded a grant to Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to continue the implementation of a DC-based volunteer water quality monitoring program with the goal of providing up-to-date, weekly water quality data to residents and visitors. Volunteers sample for bacteria (E. Coli), turbidity, pH, water temperature, and air temperature on a weekly basis from May to September.

With thousands of people interacting with and recreating on waters in the District of Columbia each year, it’s essential for the public to have current water quality data that may directly impact their well-being and health.

The contributions of data by volunteer and non-traditional monitoring groups to this new DC monitoring network will provide valuable information that supports shared decision-making, adaptive management, and measuring progress towards a clean, swimmable, and fishable DC. For this project, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has partnered with Anacostia Riverkeeper, Rock Creek Conservancy, and Nature Forward.

There are 24 locations in the Anacostia River, Potomac River, and Rock Creek watersheds, where high recreation activities occur, for volunteers to choose to monitor from! Monitoring takes place weekly from May to September annually.

Photo by Bob Fabia

Become a Volunteer

Monitors must be available to sample on Wednesdays between 7 AM and noon at least twice throughout the monitoring season.

  1. Attend a training session
  2. Take the certification quiz
  3. Sign the waivers
  4. Attend an in-person demonstration (included in the in-person training)

After volunteers are certified, they will be emailed access to the sign-up form for the specific sites and sampling days. If you are interested in becoming a DC Water Quality Monitor, please complete our interested form below.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Maya Sterett at


Interest Form

Reported Data

Water quality results are shared each Friday in order to provide up-to-date water quality information for residents and visitors to DC during the recreational season (May to September). All data are made available to the public weekly via social media using the hashtags #WhatsInTheWater and #DCCitizenScience, Water Reporter, and the Chesapeake Data Explorer. After each sampling season, data are compiled and published in an annual report.

Our Funders

Our Partners




Please reach out to Maya Sterett at

Ask a Question