River Sweep plans underway

NEW CUMBERLAND – Keeping the Ohio River’s shoreline and tributaries clean is an ongoing, thankless job, but one day a year, volunteers gather for an extra special effort.

River Sweep 2014 in Hancock County will, depending on how many volunteers show up, stretch from Chester to Weirton on June 21.

Bill and Phyllis Swan, Hancock County co-chairs for River Sweep 2014, said they will meet with volunteers at Swanee’s Landing in New Cumberland at 9 a.m. June 21 for a day of cleanup activities along the riverbank – from a block south of the Madison and Chester streets intersection to the New Cumberland Locks and Dam.

Other cleanup activities will cluster around Edgewater Park Campground, Kennedy Marina and Campground in Newell, and the city of Chester, Phyllis Swan said.

Leading the effort in Chester is City Councilman Mike Dotson, who said the city does not limit its cleanup to just one day. “If we didn’t keep up with it, it’d be a mess,” he said.

Dotson, who also organizes the annual Chester “Make It Shine” effort, said volunteers regularly help him clean up trash and debris from the Chester City Park boat ramp, under the Jennings Randolph Bridge, local marinas and tributaries.

Volunteers who sign up to help on June 21 or, in the case of Chester, the week preceding River Sweep, will get gloves and trash bags. Once they are done, they will get a commemorative T-shirt, Swan said.

River Sweep is an annual Ohio River cleanup event covering 3,000 miles of shoreline from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Ill. The largest environmental event of its kind, it encompasses six states and the entire length of the Ohio River.

“This year marks the 25th annual River Sweep. We continue to find trash along the Ohio River and its tributaries as more people use the river for recreation,” said Lisa Cochran, project manager. “We need your help.”

River Sweep is sponsored by the Cincinnati-based Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, the main water pollution control agency for the Ohio River and its tributaries.

Anyone interested in helping Dotson should contact him at 304-670-9296.

Anyone interested in volunteering at other River Sweep sites in Hancock County should contact the Swans at 304-374-1894.