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3,000 Miles Of Ohio River Shoreline To Get a Cleaning Saturday

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Rich Watkins helped pull a car out of the Ohio River in the early 1990s.At the time, Watkins, a volunteer with the Ohio River Sweep, was discovering appliances, television sets and more in the group's annual clean-up of the river’s banks.Today, he's still dredging items from the river, but the cars and big appliances aren't as common. He and other volunteers are finding more and more trash bags full of plastic bottles and everyday refuse.For Watkins and other clean-up volunteers, this is "wonderful progress," noted Lisa Cochran, a spokesperson with the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, a Cincinnati based organization that hosts the clean-up that spans 3,000 miles of shoreline from Pittsburgh to Cairo, IL.  In Louisville, hundreds of people are expected to volunteer their time from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday to walk nearly 30 miles of shoreline in Jefferson County, picking up junk that pollute the river's ecosystem.The source of the Ohio River is the intersection of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers near Pittsburgh. The waterway flows for 981 miles before dumping into the Mississippi River.  It borders or travels through six states and stretches for more than 600 miles across Kentucky's northern border.The Ohio river provides drinking water to more than three million people, according to the Ohio River Foundation.Watkins, who also works with the Metropolitan Sewer Districts and coordinates the clean-up, said he expects 30-40 tons of trash to be collected on Saturday. But of course, the amount collected depends on how many people come out, he said.Once collected, the trash is transported to city dumps for free.Watkins said cleaning up the banks of the Ohio River is not only important for marine life and residents in Louisville, but also for surrounding communities.“What is in the river always flows downstream and by going downstream it affects the water quality of the next city or state downstream and affects what they have to deal with to process the water,” he said.Residents interested in volunteering can show up at any of six different locations around Jefferson County on Saturday at 9 a.m.  The cleanup will last until noon.  Trash bags, gloves and water will be provided to volunteers.The sites:

  • Hayes Kennedy Park
  •  Juniper Beach area (Klie Ln @ River Rd.)
  • Cox Park
  •  Eva Bandman Park
  •  Shawnee Park (Broadway @ the River)      
  •  Riverview Park (Greenwood Rd & Cane Run Rd)  
  •  Riverview Park (Greenwood Boat Ramp)

For more information, click here.