River Threats

Our beloved Cacapon River is unique among rivers. It is a clean, healthy local and state treasure that is mostly free of threats. But in recent years, threats to our river’s health and recreational qualities have continued to arise. 

Here, you can find the most recent, up-to-date information on the river threats that the Friends of the Cacapon River are monitoring closely. 

Wastewater Treatment Plants

Three municipal wastewater treatment plants empty into the Cacapon River — in the towns of Wardensville, Capon Bridge and Great Cacapon. The Friends of the Cacapon monitors the regulation of these facilities by the WVDEP.

Thanks to the work of local activists, Cacapon River watershed groups, WVDEP and the Capon Bridge Town Council, past sewage violations have been remedied. The Town of Capon Bridge has been diligently working to improve its wastewater treatment plant performance for the past several years. The facility has been in regular compliance with its permit for over two years.

The Town is well underway in a comprehensive process to overhaul and update the facility. The planned upgrades to the collection system and plant will cost in excess of $3,000,000 and have been approved by WVDEP. The Town is currently working through the regulatory process and it is anticipated that construction of all the new upgrades will be completed in 2021.

The Friends of the Cacapon River plans to provide independent monitoring through periodic effluent tests on all three of these municipal facilities in 2021.

Massive Algae Bloom Impairs River Recreation

A massive green algae bloom is plaguing the Cacapon River near Yellow Spring in Hampshire County. This overgrowth of stringy algae, known as filamentous algae, stretches for several river miles. In the summer months, the largest patch is 3 miles long and covers up to 80 percent of the river, making swimming, fishing, and paddling nearly impossible. 

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) recently deemed this algae-affected portion of the Cacapon River to be “recreationally impaired.” For the first time ever, our notoriously healthy river has made WVDEP’s list of impaired streams in the state. Thankfully, unlike other varieties of algae, filamentous green algae is not toxic to our river’s waters. It’s considered more of a nuisance than a toxin.