Delaware News

Goal of events: trash-free Olentangy

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Delaware residents who believe the Olentangy River should be home for fish and frogs, not bikes and tires, can attend two upcoming river cleanup events.

The first event, hosted by the city of Delaware, will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Aug. 23 near the city's wastewater treatment facility, 225 Cherry St. Participants should register for that event by Friday, Aug. 15.

The second event will be held Sept. 27 in downtown Delaware between the Central Avenue and William Street bridges.

Kristin Piper, the city's upper Olentangy River watershed coordinator, said 27 people already have registered for the first event. She said she thinks a concentrated effort by the volunteers can remove a lot of waste from the waterway.

"We pretty much estimated that we could remove about two tons of garbage from the river during (the events)," she said.

Piper said she has observed multiple bikes, tires and even shopping carts that had been discarded in the river while working along the waterway. She said it can be hard to prosecute offenders who dump refuse in the river unless someone witnesses them committing the offense.

Volunteers who register for the event will be provided with a drawstring backpack, a light snack and water during the cleanup in return for removing some of that debris.

Piper said the city had applied for a grant through the Ohio EPA to pay for T-shirts for participants and advertising, but the request was not approved.

Each event is expected to cost the city slightly more than $500, which includes disposal fees for all of the refuse collected.

Piper said that's a good deal if the volunteers make some progress in keeping the river clean.

"I think having a clean environment is definitely worth $500," she said.

Piper said the city tries to conduct river cleanup days at least once a year. She said she'd like the city to host two more this year if funding is available.

The city has advised residents who plan to attend the events to wear closed-toe shoes to prevent injuries. Residents who help clean the banks of the river are advised to wear pants to guard against poison ivy.

The rainout dates for the two events are Aug. 30 and Oct. 4, respectively.

To register, email Piper at kpiper@delawareohio.net.

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