Shiver in the River Makes a Splash

It was a brisk Saturday on the James, but that’s exactly why everyone was there – to participate in the second annual Shiver in the River! Hundreds came out for the fundraiser, which had participants cleaning up the banks of the James or their own communities, running or walking a 5K, or taking a plunge into the James – all in support of Keep Virginia Beautiful (KVB).

The goodwill and mission behind the event, coupled with the great beverages, food and music, have turned the event into the coolest winter festival in Richmond.

Said participant David Christian right before he took the plunge, "I feel great. This is the first time I've done it. What really impresses me is the pride of the community to come out to clean up the riverfront  the ownership that people take of this special city. It's fantastic!" 

Those who turned up for the event had many different reasons to support KVB, but perhaps none were as emotional as that of one team participating in the James River Jump: “Margaret's Plunging Twinkle Toes.”

Julie Kacmarcik, team spokesperson, explained. “My friend Margaret O’Bryan has been fighting kidney cancer since 2014. It went to her brain and her lungs. Last night, she lost her fight. She’s been a lover of nature as long as I’ve known her. We gave her the name Queen of the Royal Plunger years ago, so she knew about this, and she wanted us to do it. She loved her home state of Virginia and did all she could to defend our natural resources. We are doing this in her honor."

Read more about Shiver on the River



How do those in the know describe the mission of Keep Virginia Beautiful (KVB)? “Our mission at Keep Virginia Beautiful is to engage and unite Virginians to improve our natural and scenic environment,” says Mike Baum, Director, KVB. “We do this by focusing on five areas of impact: litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling, beautification and environmental education.”

“Shiver in the River is an ideal fundraising event for us, especially because of the cleanup aspect of the day, which really ties in to our mission,” he adds. “This event gives us another great opportunity to educate folks about litter!”


  • 100 recycling bins
  • 24 cigarette receptacles
  • Countless pocket ashtrays

Did you know there’s a right way and a wrong way to dispose of cigarette butts? KVB does. “I don’t think many people realize that cigarette butts make up about 38% of Virginia’s litter,” explains Baum. “Its important that people realize that whether its a cigarette butt or trash in general, its going somewhere. Unfortunately, it can end up in our river and watershed, which can affect our drinking water.”



Protecting and improving water quality in the James River is an ongoing commitment of the Department of Public Utilities (DPU). Did you know that Richmond's wastewater treatment facility, located along the south bank of the James River, can treat up to 75 million gallons of wastewater per day? The plant serves Richmond residents as well as Goochland and parts of Henrico and Chesterfield counties.

Built in 1958 and upgraded several times since to enhance pollutant removal, the most recent improvement reduced the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus released to the James River and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay – resulting in a cleaner, healthier river and Bay. In addition to the millions of dollars invested in improving pollutant removal, DPU is also engaged in a multi-year combined sewer overflow (CSO) control program to protect the river from overflows during heavy rains. Learn more.

The James River is so important to all of us! It’s vital that we manage it wisely, for the sake of our health and the activities we enjoy. Together, we can achieve cleaner water faster. Learn more at