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Volunteers needed for River Sweep

June 11, 2012
By MARK LAW - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - Dozens of volunteers are expected to come to the marinas in Steubenville and Mingo Junction to help with the annual River Sweep Saturday morning.

River Sweep is a riverbank cleanup that extends the entire length of the Ohio River and beyond, according to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, which has organized the event for more than two decades. More than 3,000 miles of shoreline will be combed for trash and debris. It is the largest environmental event of its kind and encompasses six states.

Locally, volunteers will gather at the Steubenville and Mingo Junction marinas beginning at 9 a.m., with registration and the cleanup to start at 9:30 a.m., said Louise Holliday, JB Green Team education coordinator.

Article Video

Area volunteers make plans for annual River Sweep.

Holliday said Girl Scout Troop 4642 of Brilliant will be sending volunteers to the Mingo Junction Marina, and other volunteers are urged to help there.

ArcelorMittal will be providing heavy equipment and trucks on both sides of the Ohio River, according to Holliday.

"We are trying to keep the waterways clean so people have clean areas for when they go fishing or do other activities along the riverbank. People should give back to the community, and this is one way to do that," Holliday said.

Article Photos

RIVER SWEEP — The annual River Sweep along the banks of the Ohio River is set for Saturday. Volunteers will gather around 9 a.m. Saturday at the marinas in Steubenville and Mingo Junction. Helping with the event are, front, from left, Makayla Higgins and Emily Stewart, both of Girl Scout Troop 4642, Brilliant; and back, Rich McCullough and Mike Bartoletti, both of ArcelorMittal; Steve McGlone of Choice Brands; Ryan Vitek, FirstEnergy W.H. Sammis Plant; Debbie Aulet and Jamie DeGrava, Wal-Mart Steubenville store; and Louise Holliday, JB Green Team. - Mark Law

ORSANCO reported last year's event brought out more than 20,000 volunteers, and more than 20,000 tons of trash and debris were collected.

Holliday said tires, rope and other items are collected during the River Sweep, and she noted there is a large amount of roofing shingles at the north end of the Steubenville Marina. About 66 volunteers participated last year.

"The Ohio River Sweep is very important because for a few hours on one day volunteers can help make a difference in the appearance of this great natural resource," said Jeanne Ison, ORSANCO project director. "The sweep has grown so much in the past few years, we've been able to expand the project to tributaries and feeder streams of the Ohio River."

Following the cleanup, each volunteer receives a free T-shirt, snack and refreshments, Holliday said.

She added local businesses donating items for the River Sweep include ArcelorMittal, FirstEnergy W.H. Sammis Plant, Choice Brands, Riesbeck's and Wal-Mart.

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