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The Potomac River is the river that runs its course through the Capital Wasteland. Before that, the Potomac runs along most of the border of Maryland, West Virginia and Virigina and after the cutting through DC, continues along the border of Virginia until it reaches the Chesapeake Bay.
Starting in Maryland and West Virginia with the North Branch Potomac River and South Branch Potomac rivers meet, the Potomac courses along the borders of both states until it reaches the Washington DC. Its course is generally northwest to southeast, and generally divides the Wasteland. Many portions of the river have dried up all the way to the river bed. To the north and east of the river is Maryland, to the south and west is Virginia, and all of Washington, D.C. is on the east side. It empties into the Tidal Basin along with the Anacostia River. Its waters are moderately radioactive, making swimming a somewhat hazardous method of crossing (depending on the width of the portion you plan on crossing); it is best to find an intact bridge or narrow or dried up section. There are a few boats in the river both above the surface and resting on the bed of the river; these boats sometimes contain ammunition and first aid boxes. Mirelurks are often found in and around it, with mirelurk hunters and mirelurk kings found at higher levels.
- If Broken Steel is completed, "purified" water will start gushing out of the pipes coming from the Jefferson Memorial. Controversial to the bottling of aqua pura and to reports all across the wasteland of free purified water from the river, the Potomac River is still irradiated, except the tidal basin in front of the Jefferson Memorial. As Dr. Li told the Lone Wanderer, Project Purity was never intended to purify all of the river, just the tidal basin.