IDEM, EPA, ORSANCO participate in river cleanup
Evansville – Governor Eric J. Holcomb issued a proclamation declaring May 12 as Ohio River Day to honor the 981 river miles that run through or border Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia and provide drinking water for more than 5 million people. To celebrate, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) teamed up for an Ohio River Sweep event in Evansville, Ind.
The Ohio River Sweep is a volunteer cleanup that extends the entire length of the Ohio River and encourages volunteers from the six states that border the Ohio River to remove litter at multiple locations along the river and its tributaries. In 2021, there were 150 mini-sweeps hosted in five states and 50,000 pounds of litter were collected.
"The Governor's proclamation is a great way to highlight the Ohio River's vitality to Indiana's economy, drinking water supply, and recreational opportunities," said IDEM Commissioner Brian Rockensuess. "We are happy that our partners at U.S. EPA and ORSANCO have joined us in prioritizing the health and well-being of this waterway."
“The Ohio River is a vital resource that provides so much for the millions of people in six states who live along its banks,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “Participating in the Ohio River Sweep this summer is a great way for all of us to give back and say thanks.”
“It’s important for everyone in the Ohio River Basin to remember we are all a part of this incredible watershed and these types of clean up events not only remove tons of litter but also help demonstrate the impact that litter has on our waters. By promoting these Ohio River Sweep cleanup events, it is our hope that folks will be motivated to properly dispose of their waste products so they do not end up in and along our waterways” said ORSANCO Executive Director Richard Harrison. The executive director aims to double the amount of event sites from last year and looks forward to rolling up his sleeves and participating. Harrison explains, “It’s always inspiring to see the camaraderie gained when working together to improve the quality of the Ohio River. It creates a connection and sense of belonging to a local purpose with a global impact. The immense issue of litter in our waterways may seem overwhelming, but each volunteer contribution is valuable and truly makes a difference!”
Click here for a link to the proclamation.
For information about ORSANCO or to participate in an Ohio River Sweep event, visit orsanco.org/river-sweep/.
ORSANCO Executive Director Richard Harrison (left), U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore, and IDEM Commissioner Brian Rockensuess pick up litter along the Ohio River in Evansville, Ind.