City may hold two river cleanups in 2014

By Gary Budzak

February 5, 2014

The City of Delaware, in cooperation with other agencies, will hold two cleanups of the Olentangy River in 2014.

The announcement was made by Watershed Coordinator Kristin Piper at the City Council meeting on Jan. 27. Council unanimously approved applying for a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to hold the events.

A third cleanup, in the City of Galion, was canceled. “There was an insignificant amount of litter in that area we had chosen,” Piper told Council.

Delaware City is proposing the first river cleanup on Aug. 23, located east of the Wastewater Treatment Facility, on a sharp bend that catches lots of litter dumped from downtown, as well as debris from a former landfill.

The second cleanup would take place on Sept. 27 from the E. Central Ave. bridge to the E. William St. bridge, a 1,200 feet section where the application to the Ohio EPA said “is an area of the river that is visible from two U.S. Highways, one State Route, and a major city bike path. This is an area of the City where thousands of people travel each day.”

Both sites are on public property owned by the City of Delaware and are within the state designated Scenic River area of the Olentangy.

Two tons of trash are expected to be collected this year, and the City would provide the volunteers who help collect the trash with T-shirts and refreshments. The Delaware General Health District has committed to cover disposal fees, and its Keep Delaware County Beautiful division would provide trash bags. Also participating would be the Delaware Community Center YMCA, Sustainable Delaware Organization and Olentangy Watershed Alliance.

Delaware has hosted six river cleanup events over the past five years, and through previous grants, has been able to purchase equipment for the cleanups. The City’s Public Utilities, Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments will provide equipment for large item removal and to transport the trash to the Delaware County transfer station of the DKMM Solid Waste District.

The application said that Ohio Wesleyan University students and staff, Boy Scouts, a YMCA teen group, and others have participated in past cleanups. More than 50 volunteers participated last year, collecting 1.5 tons of trash.

The grant, turned in earlier this week, would pay for the t-shirts and printing posters about the event and alert people to the problem of litter in the river.

A watershed festival, which will celebrate the importance of the Olentangy River, will be held June 21 at Mingo Park.