CHILO – Nobody said volunteer work wouldn’t be messy.
In fact, advertisements for the 2018 Ohio River Sweep suggested volunteers wear clothes that could get dirty. Because they would.
Look no further than Clermont County Park Director Chris Clingman, one of a seven volunteers who donated time at Chilo Lock 34 Park on June 16 to help keep the river clean.
“Chris wins the prize for getting the dirtiest, as usual,” said his wife Suzanne Clingman, another River Sweep volunteer. “But this was the least trash we’ve found on any River Sweep in the last 18 years.
“This winter was the highest river level in the 18 years we’ve been doing the sweep, so I would guess that made the difference. What it didn’t carry away was way up on the bank where we couldn’t reach and could hardly see it.”
According to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, “River Sweep encompasses the entire length of the river, from its origin in Pittsburgh to its end in Cairo, Illinois, including nearly 3,000 miles of shoreline and many tributaries.”
The annual Ohio River Sweep event began in 1989 and covers six states – Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. Clermont County hosted other volunteer sites in New Richmond, Neville and Moscow.
The 2017 sweep resulted in 500 tons (100,000 pounds) of litter removed.
Volunteers at Chilo filled a truck with trash. Among the items pulled from the water were a small television, three tires, a door and a Mickey Mouse steamboat pilot house toy.
In addition to the satisfaction of their cleanup work, volunteers were treated to the sight of a brown pelican flying up the river, not an everyday finding in this part of the country.