River Sweep to tackle Kiski by kayak

Mary Ann Thomas
| Thursday, June 13, 2013, 11:13 a.m.

Volunteers will collect litter and debris along area riverbanks on Friday and Saturday for the annual River Sweep, which features a first-time cleanup along the Kiski River via kayak on Friday.

The local River Sweep is part of a six-state effort to remove litter and debris in the Ohio River watershed in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.

Covering 2,400 miles of shoreline, it's the largest organized river cleanup in the country.

Volunteers are needed for a number of local cleanups on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon along the Kiski River, Cowanshannock Creek, Crooked Creek, Allegheny River and certain tributaries.

The cleanup by kayak will start between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. at the River's Edge Canoe and Kayak, 3158 River Road in Gilpin.

Owners Neill and Evelyn Andritz will provide the kayaks and life jackets for volunteers, who need only show up on Friday morning.

All river cleanups will be held on Saturday.

Volunteers don't need to register, but simply show up at one of the sites wearing sturdy boots and long pants.

“The No. 1 item we find is tires,” said John Linkes, environmental director of Roaring Run Watershed Association, which is in its 13th year of participating in the event.

River Sweep Coordinator Betsy Mallison said, “We have found enough parts for cars and household items over the last 22 years that we could build a whole car and a whole house.”

“This is a good opportunity to clean up the riverbanks,” said Dennis Hawley, president of Crooked Creek Watershed. “Year after year, we continue to find this stuff.”

Hawley and others said that if area counties and communities offered drop-off points for appliances, it might help cut down the illegal dumping of the larger household items.

River Sweep is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, Duquesne Light, Dominion Foundation, Koppers, Neville Chemical Co., Rex Energy, Talisman Energy, and Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir.

Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or thomas@tribweb.com.

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