CHARLESTON - Volunteers in 11 West Virginia counties are gearing up for the 30th annual Ohio River Sweep, set for Saturday.
The massive cleanup is organized by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), with help from several states' environmental protection and natural resource agencies.
More than 21,000 volunteers from six states - West Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Pennsylvania - come together each year to remove more than 320 tons of trash and other debris from the banks of the Ohio River and its tributaries.
The annual cleanup encompasses the entire length of the river, from its origin in Pittsburgh to its end in Cairo, Illinois, and covers more than 3,000 miles of shoreline of the Ohio River. More than 25 million people or 8% of the U.S. population, live in the Ohio River Basin. The Ohio River is a source of drinking water for more than five million people.
There are 125 cleanup sites along the river this Saturday. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) is coordinating West Virginia's participation in the River Sweep. Cleanups are scheduled at 18 sites in 11 counties: Brooke, Cabell, Hancock, Jackson, Marshall, Mason, Ohio, Pleasants, Tyler, Wetzel and Wood. Cleanup supplies and T-shirts will be provided.
Locally in Huntington, Harris Riverfront Park will be the site of a cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 15,
Organized by Fourpole Creek Watershed Association and Mark Connelly, that cleanup will meet at the West end of the park at the four picnic tables just west of the Amphitheater and the 10th Street entrance.
There will also be a cleanup in the Highlawn Neighborhood. At McClelland Park, 2700 Riverview Ave., Huntington. That cleanup will run 8:45 a.m. to noon and is organized by Linda Blough at 304-730-0988.
A Point Pleasant cleanup will take place from 8 a.m. to noon at Henderson with Jack Fowler and Ruth Fout organizing at 304-674-0144.
In Boyd County, the sites are Ashland RiverFront from 8:30 a.m. to noon and at the Catlettsburg City Park also 8:30 a.m. to noon with Kelly T. Ward as the organizer at 606-929-1366.
In Lawrence County, Ohio, there are three sites. The Ironton Boat Ramp, the Indian-Guyan Boat Ramp and the South Point Boat Ramp. Those cleanups are 9 a.m. to noon. Stephanie Helms is the coordinator at 740-532-1231.
In Scioto County, there are also three cleanup sites at Burks Point, Court Street Landing and at the Shawnee Boat Ramp. Those cleanups run 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and are coordinated by Stephanie Helms (740-532-1231).ORSANCO is an interstate water pollution agency for the Ohio River Valley.
The cleanup is sponsored by AEP River Operations, CSX, Dominion Foundation, Dow Corning Foundation, DuPont Washington Works, Marathon Oil Corporation, and West Virginia American Water.
Go online at http://www.orsanco.org/river-sweep/where-to-volunteer/.