Source to Sea River Cleanup tackles huge trash piles

GREENFIELD, Mass. — Litter is seemingly everywhere and is a particular problem along the waterways where storm drains dump trash after rain storms. But did you realize there are much larger trash items lurking in or along our rivers?

The Connecticut River Conservancy, formerly Connecticut River Watershed Council, is hosting its 21st annual Source to Sea Cleanup on Sept. 22 and 23. This effort helps solve the problem of both small and large trash in our rivers.

"Some really unbelievable things have been pulled from our rivers, including a cement mixer, parking meters, propane tanks and junk cars," says Alicea Charamut, CRC River Steward and Cleanup organizer. This year, in addition to working with over 100 local cleanup groups across four states to remove about 50 tons of small trash, CRC will continue working on the cleanup of these large trash items:

In Greenfield, thousands of tires dumped along the Deerfield River will be removed and recycled.

This is the second year of removing tires from this large tire dump. Once all tires are gone, the river bank will be restored. Lane Construction is assisting with large equipment, trucks, and employee volunteers to remove tires.

In Wethersfield, Conn. thanks to engineering and project management expertise of Source to Sea Cleanup lead sponsor Tighe & Bond, significant progress has been made toward the removal of an abandoned oil offload platform in the Connecticut River.

Once removed, an osprey nest platform will be restored in this location.

In Stratford, N.H., an abandoned house teetering dangerously above the river will be cleaned up by the landowner, thanks to a cooperative effort between CRC, concerned locals and town officials.

In Windsor, Vt., a local Trout Unlimited chapter and Norwich Conservation Commission are removing a 55-gallon drum from Blood Brook. CRC worked with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to determine this drum is non-hazardous.

There are a number of large cleanup sites that CRC still need help with. If you or someone or a business you know can help with any of the following sites, contact CRC at 413-772-2020 or Portland, Conn., where a collapsed dock and light pole associated with a tank farm located in the Connecticut River will require large removal equipment; Weathersfield, Vt., where a 1,000-gallon fuel tank submerged in the Connecticut River will require underwater work to cut the tank into smaller sections for removal. Underwater divers and underwater welders needed; and Canaan, Vt. where an old illegal dump site on one of the northern-most tributaries on the Connecticut River will require heavy equipment and a dumpster or dump truck for removal.

"We all have a responsibility to solve this problem — individuals, manufacturers, businesses, and government," said CRC Executive Director Andrew Fisk. In that spirit, CRC partners with a variety of organizations to combat trash on a regional scale including: Watersheds United Vermont's River Cleanup Month, the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup, and American Rivers' National River Cleanup.

"Generous financial support from lead sponsors — Eversource and Tighe & Bond — enables us to continue growing the Source to Sea Cleanup so that it has an impact beyond the two days of cleanup," said Fisk. "Our goal is to keep trash and tires from getting in our rivers in the first place and to eventually put ourselves out of the business of cleaning up our rivers." CRC collects data from cleanup groups about the amount and type of trash they find. This data supports CRC's year-round advocacy efforts and informs policies and legislation that will keep waste out of our rivers."

"At Eversource we value our environment and take great care to promote conservation and carefully manage natural and cultural resources," said Eversource President of Corporate Citizenship Rod Powell. "The Source to Sea Clean Up is a meaningful way for our employees to put this environmental ethic to work while making this regional treasure a cleaner, safer place for all to enjoy."

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