More than 6 million people live in the Potomac Watershed

Whether or not they know it, some of the very infrastructure that supports their modern lifestyles is poisoning the Potomac.

The film "Keeping the Potomac; the Politics of Water," follows the Riverkeepers of the Potomac watershed whose mission is to protect clean water for drinking, swimming, and boating.

Made by 568 Productions for the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University, nine students followed the Riverkeepers over the course of three months, documenting their work on the river.

But they can't do it alone. This film is expected to raise the public awareness necessary to help the Riverkeepers tackle the challenges of farm runoff, paper mill waste, and coal ash.

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Shenandoah River

Mark Frondorf, Shenandoah Riverkeeper for the Potomac Riverkeepers Network, has been in charge of the river’s health since 2015, but his connection to this beautiful, historic river began more than 25 years before as a fishing guide. In that time, he’s seen the river change.

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Upper Potomac

Brent Walls monitors the Upper Potomac River for the Potomac Riverkeepers Network. One of his greatest concerns is a pipeline in Westernport, Maryland, which pumps a foul smelling brown fluid into an otherwise pristine section of the river - 24 hours a day.  The effluent comes from a nearby wastewater treatment plant operated by the Upper Potomac River Commission.

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Lower Potomac

As the Lower Potomac Riverkeeper, Dean Naujoks contends with many sources of pollution that threaten the condition of the river.  One of these sources, the Coal Ash Disposal Ponds at Possum Point Power Plant, has not only drawn the attention of Naujoks, but also that of local residents, environmental activists, and state legislators.

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Keeping the Potomac was produced by American University’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking, in association with Maryland Public Television.

What you can do...

Public involvement is necessary if changes are to be made in the Potomac. Donate to the Potomac Riverkeepers and find out how to be involved.