Monday, December 19, 2022

York County Watershed Organizations Remove 50,000 Pounds Of Trash From Waterways In 50K Trash Challenge In 2022

By Jodi Sulpizio, Master Watershed Steward Coordinator, York County

On a sunny spring morning in March of 2022, York County partners, including York Master Watershed Stewards, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, York County Conservation District, and Watershed Alliance of York gathered to clean up a 40-year-old illegal dumping site in southern York County along a dirt and gravel road near Muddy Creek. 

The cleaning of this illegal dump has been quite extensive. Portions of it are several feet deep. Heaps of tires, household trash, and plastic. Lots of plastic! There are even some treasures like antique glass bottles in the mess. 

As the determined volunteers made headway, filling bag after bag of garbage that morning, we realized that a handful of people could remove about eight pick-up loads of trash in just a few hours. 

We nearly filled a 20-yard dumpster! A total of 3.6 tons of trash was removed from the dump that morning. 

50K 2022 Trash Challenge

The shock of the amount, paired with the determination of these partners, sparked an idea. 

Let’s continue to join forces and set a goal to remove 50,000 pounds of trash by the end of 2022, honoring the 50th Anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act. 

The quest became known as the Clean Water Act 50K Trash Challenge (CWA50K). The race was on from there!

To make this epic goal attainable, partners planned monthly clean-ups throughout the year and rallied community volunteers to help. 

We ended the quest of the CWA50K Trash Challenge goal with the 3rd Annual Great Plastic Purge of the Lower Susquehanna in mid-October. 

Partners joined in the fun and helped expand our efforts making an impact on some of the shorelines in Lancaster County too. 

The Conestoga River Club, Lancaster Conservancy, and Shanks Mare Outfitters all contributed to this epic goal with tons (literally) of support. 

With each passing month, clean-ups steadily garnered over 1.5 tons, sometimes as much as 5 tons! 

We are proud to say that we met and exceeded our goal by removing 56,840 pounds of trash from our waterways this year – all inspired by the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Clean Water Act.

To learn more about the federal Clean Water Act, visit the EPA website 

[Become A Master Watershed Steward

[Visit the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward webpage for information on becoming a Watershed Steward or attend one of the upcoming Watershed Steward Information Sessions.]

(Reprinted from the Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletterClick Here to sign up for your own copy (bottom of the page).)

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[Posted: December 19, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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