500 River Sweep Volunteers Clean Up Region’s Waterways
15 June 2013
By Luis Fábregas
Investigative Reporter Luis Fábregas can be reached at
Hundreds of volunteers scoured the banks of the Ohio River and its
tributaries on Saturday and pulled more than 40 tons of trash as
part of the annual River Sweep event.
“It was amazing the stuff we found,” said Ed Kramer, 55, of Cecil,
who volunteered to pick up trash along the shore line in
Sewickley. His crew of eight volunteers, affiliated with the Coast
Guard Auxiliary, collected 700 pounds of trash in about three
hours. “We found tires, PennDOT construction barrels, coolers,
balls, even fire extinguishers.”
The event, in its 23rd year, took place in seven counties in
Pennsylvania: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette,
Washington and Westmoreland. Nearly 600 volunteers participated at
24 sites, said Betsy Mallison, Pennsylvania River Sweep
“We had a lot of fathers who came out with their kids on Father's
Day weekend,” she said. “It was a very family friendly
event.”Mallison said the strangest item found by volunteers was a
pair of cement-filled boots. They found a rusty toolchest, a
mattress, a sled and an X-box game console.
The event was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of
Environmental Protection, the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation
Commission and several corporate sponsors.
The River Sweep is the largest organized volunteer river cleanup
effort in the country, Mallison said. The event takes place in
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and Illinois,
covering more than 2,400 miles of shoreline.
“It's a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun,” Kramer said.
Luis Fabregas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be
reached at 412-320-7998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.