River Sweep to target litter, debris along the Ohio River

River Sweep to target litter, debris along the Ohio River
MSD said a number of items are found in the River Sweep, including bottles, car keys and tires. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The Metro Sewer District hosts the Ohio River Sweep each year to focus on trash in and along the water.
The Metro Sewer District hosts the Ohio River Sweep each year to focus on trash in and along the water. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Metro Sewer District has extended a request to the community to help clean up the Ohio River bank on Saturday.

The Ohio River Sweep is an annual event that includes six states - from Pennsylvania to Illinois. Though the goal remains the same each year, it’s the type of trash littered along the water that has changed.

“We’re now seeing a different type of litter,” Project Manager Lisa Cochran explained. “We’re seeing those plastics and single-use items that we all love and we all use. But when they escape the trash management cycle, they end up in our waterways.”

Approximately 40 tons of trash is collected from the Jefferson County shoreline each year, according to MSD, with some interesting finds hiding among the debris.

Louisville Water said there has been an increase it plastic bottles found in landfills and the Ohio.
Louisville Water said there has been an increase it plastic bottles found in landfills and the Ohio. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

“We’ve found items like class rings, we’ve found homing pigeon tags, cremation tags, a full set of keys, we’ve found a set of dishes,” Wes Sydnor with MSD said. “We have found a set of replacement heels for men’s shoes - lots of them. Drum sticks - lots of them. And unfortunately tires - lots of them.”

The project is a partnership with Louisville Water, which has been pulling water from the Ohio to create tap water for the city since 1860. With more consumers using plastic bottles, they’ve seen an increase in plastic in landfills and in and along the water.

“Americans drink more bottled water than any other nation, purchasing 29 billion bottles every year.” MarySusan Abell with Louisville Water said. “But only 13 percent of those plastic bottles end up in recycling.”

Abell added that it takes up to a thousand years for a single plastic bottle to decompose. Commitments like the river sweep, plus the use of reusable bottles, can help.

Volunteers can register here. MSD will supply gloves, trash bags and a commemorative t-shirt. In addition, an employee will be assigned to coordinate cleanup efforts at each of the sites.

The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to Noon on Saturday June 15. There are a total of six cleanup sites along the Ohio River in Jefferson County:

Hays Kennedy Park 7003 Beachland Beach Road

Carrie Gaulbert Cox Park 3730 River Road

Eva Bandman Park 1701 River Road

Karen Lynch Park/Beargrass Flood Pumping Station 1731 Brownsboro Road

Shawnee Park W Market Street (between Northwestern Parkway and Fontaine Landing Court)

Riverview Park 8202 Greenwood Road (Greenwood Road and Cane Run Road)

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