River Sweep cleanup set for Saturday

Published 9:09 am Thursday, June 16, 2011

Usually it’s just pop bottles and beer cans. But sometimes volunteers hit the trash jackpot when they scour the banks of the Ohio River as they join in the annual River Sweep.

“Plastic pop and water bottles. That is what we see most of the time,” Stephanie Helms of the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste District, said. “Occasionally we see some random items like chairs or propane tanks, all kinds of different things.”

This Saturday will be the annual ORSANCO River Sweep and Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste District is sponsoring volunteer crews at four boat ramp sites: Ironton, Coal Grove, South Point and Symmes Creek at Chesapeake.

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Typically between 20 to 25 volunteers will man each of the county locations and will be provided with T-shirts, bags and gloves. Between 100 and 150 bags of trash and debris will be collected.

“Unfortunately, it is a one-day event,” Helms said. “I wish we could offer it more often. It is right at the beginning of boating season and things come up from the spring flooding. Some things are left behind from local fishermen.”

The sweep, which has been going on since 1989, attracts thousands of volunteers to the banks of the Ohio, taking in the entire 1,962 miles of shoreline of the river and its tributaries.

Sponsors for the event include G&J Pepsi of Franklin Furnace donating Pepsi products; 7 Up of South Point with bottled water; Sam’s Club and Walmart made monetary donations for the purchase of additional bags and gloves and first aid kits; and Food Fair from South Point providing donuts.

“Rumpke will supply a container for all of the various things collected,” Helms said. “. We have groups that have participated from year to year. We certainly encourage anyone who wants to show up at those sites from 9 to noon. We can never have too much help.”