PARKERSBURG - Volunteers are being sought for the 25th annual Ohio River Sweep on June 21 along the Ohio River in Wood and Washington counties.
The River Sweep is an annual six-state event that extends the entire length of the Ohio River from Pittsburgh, Pa., to Cairo, Ill., said project manager Lisa Cochran with the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), which organizes the event each year.
Last year, more than 18,000 volunteers participated in the event. Toyota, Duke Energy, Rex Energy, DuPont, EQT, West Virginia American Water and ArcelorMittal are the sponsors for River Sweep in West Virginia this year, she said.
"This year marks the 25th River Sweep," Cochran said Tuesday at Point Park in Parkersburg, which is one of the sites where cleanup work is done each year. "We continue to find trash along the Ohio River and its tributaries as more people use the river for recreation."
She was joined by John Reed, director of the Wood County Solid Waste Authority, which is working with ORSANCO on the local cleanup.
Volunteers play an important role each year in the cleanup. Cochran is asking for volunteers to help with the local cleanup, which will be June 21. Those wanting to volunteer can visit the website www.OhioRiverSweep.org to find a location near them. Trash bags will be provided and each volunteer will receive a free T-shirt. Volunteers may also call 800-359-3977.
"We are very proud of the work the volunteers have done in 25 years and I want to thank the volunteers for all of the hard work they've done," Cochran said. "When we were first starting this, we were finding appliances in the river and even an occasional vehicle. Now we're not finding any large objects. We are still finding small objects, so it still needs some time and attention," she said.
In Wood County, the two main locations will be 8 a.m.-2 p.m. June 21 at Point Park and the Williamstown Boat Ramp. No advance registration or notification is required and volunteers can show up at any location, Cochran said.
Reed said scheduled activities on Blennerhassett Island that weekend will prevent the annual sweep by DuPont Washington Works employees, so two new locations have been added for this year, at Corning Park on the Little Kanawha River (off West Virginia 47/Staunton Avenue) and at Civitan Park in Belpre.
The two main local sponsors are DuPont and Hino Motors, Reed said.
According to the website, other local sweep sites will include Devol's Dam from 9 a.m.-noon in Washington County, Ohio, the St. Marys Marina from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in Pleasants County, the old Ferry Landing from 10 a.m.-noon in Wetzel County and the Paden City Boat Dock at 9 a.m. in Tyler County.
Reed and Cochran made a special plea for volunteers who might have boats they would be willing to use along the shorelines to help reach potential trash that would be difficult or dangerous to reach from the shore.