Annual Ohio River Sweep seeks volunteers for cleanup

PARKERSBURG – Volunteers are needed to clean up debris from the banks of the Ohio and Little Kanawha rivers in the 24th annual Ohio River Sweep on June 15.

John Reed of the Wood County Solid Waste Authority, the Wood County coordinator for the event, said 151 local volunteers collected 119 bags of trash, tires, steel drums, chairs, ice chests and other items during the river sweep last year.

“This event makes Wood County’s watery backyard more attractive to those who live and visit here simply because so many of our local residents give a few hours to make our river banks more appealing,” Reed said.

The river sweep is a program of the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission and includes six states bordering the Ohio River and its tributaries. In 2012, 21,000 volunteers participated in the six states.

DuPont Washington Works, Hino Motors and other businesses have participated in the cleanup in past years. Last year, the congregation of the 36th Street Church of Christ in Vienna also volunteered.

Boats will be provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Volunteers will meet at two locations at Point Park in Parkersburg and at the Williamstown Boat Ramp. The event will begin at 8 a.m. and finish at noon, with lunch being provided by the Solid Waste Authority following the cleanup. Volunteers need to be 18, attend with a parent or have written parental permission to participate.

Free T-shirts will be given to each volunteer with this year’s artwork, in addition to gloves and picksticks. Trash bags are donated by the Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan Program, an environmental cleanup division of the state Division of Environmental Protection.