Delaware River’s Cleaner Than It’s Been in a Long Time, But You Still Can’t Swim in Philly

Photo of the Delaware River courtesy of Wikipedia.

As warmer weather emerges, you may have an urge to plunge into the Delaware River. Why not? The river’s cleaner than it’s been in decades, thanks to the 50-year-old Clean Water Act.

But don’t do it, writes Michaela Winberg for

There’s still some sewage issue to work out in Philadelphia, where sewage levels are four times higher than anywhere else.

“The fertilizer, dog poop, herbicides and pesticides that end up on our landscape because of the way people live their lives — that gets collected by the stormwater system and ends up in the river,” said Maya van Rossum, head of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network nonprofit.

Swimmers would also face strong currents … and boats.

Technically, only Philadelphia is deemed unsafe as far as the river goes.

Boating, kayaking, light wading near shore might be OK.

No swimming.

There are efforts by local environmental advocates to clean up the Philadelphia section enough to swim without harm.

The Delaware River Basin Commission is looking into it, monitoring and testing the water.

When it’s clean enough, they’ll ask the EPA to change the river’s designation so swimming is allowed.

Read more about the cleaning of Delaware River here.

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