Volunteer canoers needed for Yough River tire cleanup day
Hundreds of tires polluting the Youghiogheny River are about to find a new home.
With a little help from volunteers on canoes, that is.
“This particular type of event is a lot of fun, relatively speaking, when you’re cleaning up a dump site,” said Ellen Keefe, director of Westmoreland Cleanways.
Belle Vernon Rotary is teaming up with the organization and Youghiogheny Canoe Outfitters to take to the water on Oct. 20 in search of tires that apparently were dumped near Cedar Creek Park in Rostraver and West Newton. Canoes will be provided for volunteers who don’t have one.
The four-mile float between the park and West Newton will start at 9 a.m.
Rotary vice president Tom Yoder lives near the park and took his kayak out after noticing a large number of tires in the water.
“I wanted to see where the tires were located,” he said.
He found even more than he expected — “hundreds and hundreds” hung up on the banks or on fallen trees.
It’s been six years since Westmoreland Cleanways checked out that stretch of river for tires after four successful cleanups from 2010 through 2013, Keefe said. During those years, the organization pulled about 1,000 tires out of the water, she said.
“We quit doing it because we thought we’d gotten them,” she said.
But, they’re back.
“The tires … are leeching chemicals and road oil into the water way,” Keefe said.
The water depth in that section should be pretty low — a foot or so — for the cleanup day. Registration is due by Oct. 16. The rotary club will provide lunch, volunteers will be transported to the launch site and T-shirts are being made.
“You’re accomplishing a great service for the environment and the community,” Keefe said.
To register, call Westmoreland Cleanways at 724-879-4020 and fill out a volunteer waiver form.
Tires can be recycled at several locations in Westmoreland County, according to the organization’s recycling guide. They are accepted for a fee at Westmoreland Cleanways Recycling Center, 113 Innovative Lane, Latrobe (Unity), and at several auto centers and municipal buildings in the area. Westmoreland Cleanways charges $3 for a passenger tire that is not on a rim. Fees range from $15 to $40 for tires used on tractor-trailers and for agricultural or heavy machinery purposes.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .