WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — People are enjoying the long Labor Day Weekend out on the water. But in D.C., a swimming ban is in place in the Potomac River.

A push to remove that ban got some extra attention this week after a famous singer told fans she took a dip in the Potomac.

It went viral online, prompting some strong opinions about just how clean the river really is.

Lorde told fans at her concert Monday that she was lying in the Potomac River.

The reactions ranged from applause to some screaming “ew.” But it wasn’t always that way.

“Growing up as a kid you used to swim in the Potomac, water ski,” said Rick Santiago of Woodbridge, Va.

Santiago eventually stopped going in, however.

“After a while you start hearing things. You know, ‘The water’s dirty. I wouldn’t eat any fish out of it,'” Santiago said.

The water was so filthy in 1971 swimming was banned in D.C.

“I’m 20 years in DC. I’ve never see anybody swimming,” said Boris Mironov.

The Potomac Riverkeeper Network says the water is clean.

“More than 75% of the time, the E. coli levels meet public health standards, so it’s safe to swim in the Potomac from a water quality standpoint,” said Nancy Stoner, president of the Potomac Riverkeeper Network.

Stoner wants the ban lifted. She says pollution is much

“It’s outdated, it’s archaic. It doesn’t reflect even the current use of the river where people are in it all the time getting exposed to the water,” Stoner said. “People go in the water all the time. People fall off stand-up paddleboards all the time in the river, as well as rolling in their kayaks and so forth.”

There are some areas you want to avoid at certain times, like the Georgetown Waterfront, impacted by raw sewage discharges.

“That means that after it rains, you have raw sewage going in the water. So if it’s rained here within 24 to 48 hours, I wouldn’t swim in here,” Stoner said.

The hope is to have several areas open for swimming after a water quality and hazard study is done.

“Once that study is done, we would like to have get that information and actually create beaches that are monitored daily, that have lifeguards that have swimming access,” Stoner said.

Stoner said she did get a response from the D.C. Department of Energy & Environment.

“They say it’s also their goal to have safe swimming in the Potomac River. They haven’t indicated exactly when but they say this. They support the goal. So we believe it’s within our sights,” Stoner said.

To find out if the water is clean you can download an app called Swim Guide, where the Potomac Riverkeeper Network uploads weekly water quality results of more than 20 sites during the summer.

But it even says so in the app, regardless of the status, it is still illegal to swim in the river in D.C.

It is legal to swim in the Potomac River in Maryland and Virginia