Morgantown Dam to Release River Trash Wednesday

Volunteers ready to clean up debris

Morgantown Dominion Post
14 June 2011
By Alex Lang

Anyone with a boat who wants to go out and help can contact Tim Terman at 304-292-5087.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to release the trash from behind the Morgantown Lock and Dam this week, and for the first time local residents will be on the Monongahela River to try to collect it.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District Area Lockmaster Robert Smith said the plan is to release the drift at about 8 a.m. Wednesday.

There is enough flow to release the trash without losing the upper pool, Smith said.

This is the first time the Upper Monongahela River Association has been informed before the Corps released the trash, Smith said. Tim Terman and BOPARC representatives plan to use boats to collect the trash, Terman said.

“If we didn’t do it, it would just stay there or float down the river,” Terman said.

The plan is pull items from the Monongahela River one-by-one, he said. There is no money available to purchase equipment to remove large quantities of debris.

Terman, who has become locally known for picking up garbage along the riverside, said trash collectors will leave wood in the water, but will remove debris such as soda bottles, cigarette lighters and tires.

The trash isn’t only aesthetically unpleasing, Terman said, it can also affect wildlife. For example, a bird might get tangled in a piece of garbage.

Smith said there is more trash behind the dam right now because of recent heavy rains.

Corps of Engineers spokesman Jeff Hawk said officials release the debris when there is high water and the gates need to be opened anyway.