3 teams join Rivers Alive waterway cleanup

Effort's focus is on making a difference

 

Jack Hamilton stacked dozens of used tires Sat­urday that were pulled from the woods behind Lake Olm­stead during the Savan­nah River­kee­per’s 12th annual Rivers Alive waterway cleanup.

Volunteers said they suspect a company dumps the tires because more than 75 are pulled from the spot during the cleanup every year.

“This is our main focus over here … to get all of this out,” said Marisa Harris, one of the event’s organizers.

The group also typically finds used hypodermic needles, carpet, shutters and liquor bottles, along with fishing lines and paper trash.

“Could you imagine if nobody ever came down here, what it would look like?” said Beth Schaber, who has joined the cleanup effort for the past two years.

“It’s nasty. I hate to see it like this. It needs to be cleaned up for everybody to enjoy,” she said.

About 15 teams set out Sat­urday to clean up waterways across Richmond and Columbia counties.

“We’ve got a couple of new teams this year, which is exciting,” said Tonya Bonita­tibus, the executive director of the Savannah River­keeper.

Those groups included the third-grade class from C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School, students from the Geor­gia Regents University biology department, and a Boy Scout troop.

Bonitatibus said many of the streams and creeks they focus on have water flow restricted by the debris.

“A lot of the places where we clean up are places where people are actively dumping. A lot of times those people are aware when we’re doing it,” she said. “I think that kind of thing is important, that people see the community out coming together.”

Aaron Stephens joined the cleanup for the first time after a friend asked him.

“I think it’s a pretty good thing,” he said. “There’s a lot of trash out here. A lot of tires. It’s ridiculous.”

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