Fort Mill Times

Riversweep making a difference on Lake Wylie

About 1,000 volunteers spent Saturday morning pulling trash out of Lake Wylie during the 13th annual Riversweep.

Lakekeeper Ellen Goff said Oct. 4 was “another solid event,” collecting 14.5 tons of garbage. Last year, 21 tons of trash was removed from sites around the lake.

“Everybody thought the lake was cleaner than past years,” she said.

Goff named off a few of the larger items collected at Buster Boyd Access Area saying there are a lot of tires, buoys, a sailboat hull, and even a metal patio set of round table and four chairs.

“I do think what we’re doing is working,” she said. “The message is definitely out there.”

Jennifer Culver, environmental compliance manager for York County, came away from Riversweep with the same impression. She was site captain at the Nivens Creek location, where more than 40 people signed up to help including a group Boy Scouts and another of Winthrop students.

Culver said when volunteers scouted the lake prior to the event looking for the best places to send people, there weren’t as many pockets of trash as in past years.

“We’re changing people’s mindset,” she said.

Charlie Duda, 7, volunteered at Riversweep for the fourth year. His mom Liz was site captain at Tega Cay Marina where about 20 people pre-registered. Charlie Duda was surprised how many bags of chips, water bottle and cans his group found unopened.

“We’re finding a lot of things that haven’t been done yet,” he said.

Tega Cay resident Jim Van Blarcom helps clean up access areas at Nivens and Allison Creek three times a year through the Catawba Power Squadron. Three or four people usually spend a couple hours collecting 10 or 20 bags of trash, he said.

Van Blarcom was out early during Riversweep picking up bottles and other trash about 12 feet from a trash can.

“This is a trash bin right here,” he said. “This is what I picked up, from here to here.”

The event is sponsored by Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Lake Wylie Covekeepers and Lake Wylie Marine Commission.