Annual river sweep set for Saturday June 15

June 8, 2013

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

The annual river sweep is set to take place along the Ohio River Saturday June 15.

Stephanie Helms of the Lawrence Scioto Solid Waste Management District and one of the local organizers for the event said the Ohio River sweep will be taking place on the same date in communities from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Ill., which includes 3,000 miles of shoreline and tributaries.

According to promotional material for the event, “each year, more than 21,000 volunteers from public organizations, civic groups, recreational clubs, and the general public in six states bordering the river come together to collect more than 21,000 tons of trash and other debris from the banks of the Ohio River and tributaries. Since 1989, River Sweep has been organized by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), an interstate water pollution agency for the Ohio River Valley, along with environmental protection and natural resource agencies from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.”

The cleanup sites in Scioto County include the Court Street landing in Portsmouth, Shawnee Boat Marina in Friendship and the Ohio side of the Greenup Dam.

Helms said there are also several sites within Lawrence County for this event. The times of the cleanup are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sites in Greenup County include, in Russell - Riverbank along Riverside Drive, in Greenup - City Park, in Worthington - City Park and in South Shore - Old Boat Landing. Cleanup times for the sites in Greenup County are from 9 a.m. to noon.

According to promotional materials for the event, “the Ohio River is a source of drinking water for more than three million people. More than 25 million people, almost 10 percent of the U.S. population, live in the Ohio River Basin. Approximately 150 species of fish have been collected from the Ohio River.

The average depth of the Ohio River is approximately 24 feet. The widest point along the Ohio River is approximately 1 mile at the Smithland Dam.

There are 20 dams and 49 power generating facilities on the Ohio River. The power generating facilities have a combined capacity in excess of six percent of the total U.S. generating capacity. The navigation dams provide a nine-foot minimum depth for commercial navigation. More than 230 million tons of cargo is transported on the Ohio River each year. Coal and other energy products make up approximately 70 percent of the commerce traveling by barge.”

“Last year was the largest turnout we have ever had in the 11 years I have been coordinator, we had over 200 volunteers and I am hoping for another big turnout at all of our site locations again this year. Everyone is encouraged to attend, there is no age limit for the volunteers, however younger children will need to be accompanied by an adult,” said Kelly Ward, Public Administration Specialist of FIVCO Area Development District of Greenup, Ky.

For more information about volunteering at the Ohio sites call the Lawrence Scioto Solid Waste Management District at 740-532-1237. For more information about sites in Greenup County call Ward at 606-929-1366.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.