Lorde Becomes DC Hero, Survives a Dip in the Potomac River

Lorde on stage
Harry Durrant/Getty Images

Lorde is really embracing the cities she’s visiting on her Solar Power Tour, and we’re not just talking visiting the Bean in Chicago and eating a cheesesteak in Philly. She’s really exploring these cities, like swimming in contaminated rivers level of exploring.

On Monday, the audience at the singer’s Washington DC show were left dumbstruck when she revealed that her pre-show ritual that day involved swimming in the local body of water. “I was thinking today, I was lying in the Potomac River,” she said during an interlude between songs. “I love getting to swim in water where I’m playing, it makes me feel like I know you a bit better.”

If you’re not from DC, you may be thinking, “Aw, that sounds nice,” but natives of the area may now be concerned for the singer’s health. According to a local DC new site, WTOP News, swimming in the Potomac has actually been banned since the early ‘70s, and for good reason. The city’s sewer system “routinely discharges 2 billion gallons of combined sewage and stormwater each year” into various rivers, including, yup, the Potomac.

But while it is illegal to take a a dip in many areas, there are a few spots where you are allowed to wade in. In fact, the Potomac Riverkeeper (yes, that’s a job) Dean Naujoks told WTOP he’s also been swimming in the water. “I was out swimming all weekend myself, and I’m glad that Lorde was enjoying the Nation’s River and getting out and swimming in it,” he said. “It’s come a long way over the last 50 years.” And, lucky for Lorde, it hasn’t rained recently, because that’s when things really get icky.

So, while fans were concerned for Lorde’s health, a few days later, it looks like she’s doing okay. In fact, she seems fairly pleased with her new-found DC fame. In a video of fans approaching Lorde after the whole ordeal and explaining the situation, Lorde clarifies that she was in Maryland during her swim, and the water is a bit safer over there. “I think all is well,” she said. “But now I know why you were laughing. I’m happy to be a DC meme.”