Morgantown Council Looks For River Trash Resolution

Seeks Federal Funding To Solve Problem

The Dominion Post
November 4, 2003

By Misty Poe Phillips

Morgantown City Council may be the next one to let the federal government know it's fed up with trash in the river.

Council will consider supporting a resolution that requests funds for a pilot project to remove and dispose of river trash and debris along the Monongahela during its meeting tonight.

A large amount of debris and garbage collects daily at the locks and is then periodically released to flow further down the river. It's a historic problem, officials say, and federal funds could not only help identify where the waste is coming from, but help stop it for good.

A similar resolution has already been supported by the Monongalia County Commission and the Monongalia County Development Authority last month.

"Debris on the river has been a long-standing problem in Morgantown, but it is particularly acute now because of all of the investments that have been made on the riverfront," City Manager Dan Boroff said. "There is a unique situation in Morgantown. This isn't just an ordinary lock and dam with debris. It's in front of a $200 million investment."

Morgantown Mayor Ron Justice said he is encouraged that several local entities recognize the problem with river debris and will join forces to solve the problem.

"I think it shows a really good community effort - a link between government agencies," Justice said.

Monongalia County Commissioner Bob Bell was instrumental in the drafting of the resolution, which is being considered by several municipalities along the Monongahela. A former riverfront business owner, Bell has for several years tried to bring the problem into the public's eye.

A lot of riverfront investment seems to have been the trick, he said.

"Who wants to look out from the Radisson and see debris floating down the river that was just dumped from the dam?" Bell asked. "We find a lot of federal money for a lot of different things. We certainly can find the money for this."

Council will meet at 7:30 p.m. at Morgantown City Hall, 389 Spruce St. Adelphia Cable customers can watch council live on channel 15.