WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA)- The Potomac River is an inviting spot for boating, fishing, or just taking a stroll in the D.C. area. But it wasn't always this way. Forty years ago, when the Clean Water Act was passed by Congress, the river was in pretty rough shape.
Nancy Stoner, the EPA Head of Water, said "The Potomac River here in D.D. smelled bad, looked bad, people tried to get away from it. President Johnson called it a national disgrace. And now it's beautiful."
The Clean Water Act made it illegal to dump in the water. It also gave local officials the authority to regulate dumping by factories and other types of industry. The goal was to restore waters around the country that were no longer suitable for fishing or swimming.
Local waterways have steadily improved ever since. The Potomac is now home to more than a dozen different species of fish, and you can find people hoping to get a bite, every fishing season.
Bruce Warner of Southeast D.C., said, "These are those that swim along the channel. And if you're fortunate, they're not just volunteering to be caught."
On this anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the EPA is launching a new mobile app, called How's My Waterway.
With the new EPA Waterway app, you can check out the conditions on any of our local waterways, find out about the pollution before you go out and play.
Nancy Stoner said, "The Clean Water Act is also about bringing people together. To clean up the waterways they love. The people can help in a lot of ways, they can check to see how clean the water is on the how's my waterway app."
Not only will the app give you information about your local creeks, rivers, and wetlands, but you can also get involved in the conservation effort. You can find the app by visiting the EPA's website, epa.gov, on your mobile phone.