Annual River Sweep Slated

Washington PA Observer Reporter
13 June 2012
By Michael Bradwell, Business editor

CECIL - Betsy Mallison has some good news about the annual River Sweep she's been a part of for the past 21 years: The six-state effort to clean up litter and debris in the Ohio River watershed has definitely made a difference in the water quality and health of the river and its tributaries.

But this year's event, which runs from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and has two area cleanup sites, needs volunteers.

"This event teaches river awareness and respect for our natural resource," said Mallison, who is Pennsylvania's River Sweep coordinator. "Get your family involved, teach them about our waterways and help make a difference in our water quality."

On Saturday, volunteers will work on cleaning debris from the section of Millers Run behind the Cecil post office on Millers Run Road. The second site is in Bridgeville at Chartiers Park.

The two local sites are being coordinated by Weavertown Environmental Group, a longtime participant in the local efforts. WEG's John Mammay III said volunteers, who will be asked to sign a waiver before starting the work, should wear old clothes and hard-soled shoes. Site coordinators will provide water, gloves, a souvenir T-shirt and garbage bags. Mammay said a limited number of boots will be available for participants.

People interested in volunteering can learn more about River Sweep cleanup locations by checking the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission website at From the left-hand column, select "locations/coordinators," then click on Pennsylvania to look at specific sites.

For the past 21 years, the River Sweep has wound through Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and Illinois, covering more than 2,400 miles of shoreline. It is the largest organized volunteer river cleanup effort in the country.

"The River Sweep is making a difference in our waterways," Mallison said Tuesday. "We have made so much progress in the last 20 years."

Last year, more than 600 volunteers collected 65 tons of trash, 200 tires and other debris along the Ohio, Allegheny, Beaver, Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers and their tributaries at 20 cleanup sites.