PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Volunteers are hard at work to clean up as much litter as possible before the winter storms move in. The September wildfires pushed back their efforts, but they’re stepping up now through an important partnership between SOLVE and the Clackamas Water Environment Services.
The partnership aims to keep litter out of our rivers and streams.
“Storm water runoff is the single biggest cause of water pollution here in Oregon,” said Greg Geist, the director of the Clackamas Water Environment Services.
SOLVE CEO Kris Carico said it’s important right now to pick up the trash “because as we get into our winter storms and the rain starts we’ve got to get the trash out of our communities so it doesn’t wash into the storm drains and out into our waterways.”
Because of the wildfires last month, SOLVE is extending its summer waterway cleanup series through the month of October to prevent as much trash as possible from making it into our water sources.
“I think it’s important to keep especially the waterways clean because that water will eventually end up in our drinking water,” said volunteer Michael Morrow, who is also an Advisory Board member for the Water Environment Services. “So it’s important to keep the waterways and the areas that drain into the waterways clean of any trash or biohazards or anything because that water affects everything.”
Litter isn’t just an eyesore, it’s an environmental hazard, Carico said. “Animals eat it, it pollutes our waterways so it’s really important that we clean it up. That’s why we focus on it.”
And that’s what Clackamas Water Environment Services is focused on, too.
“At Clackamas Water Environment Services we operate wastewater treatment plants that serve about 190,000 people,” Geist said. “We also have a whole arm of our work that’s involved in watershed protection and watershed health, and that’s why our partnership with SOLVE is so important and so meaningful.”
Get involved in the Waterways Series. Volunteer this Thursday at Clackamette Park, Saturday at Trillium Lake and on Halloween for a Spooky Sandy Stewardship Party.