Clean up planned for trash pile in Yellow River

CONYERS — A large garbage pile that has accumulated in the Yellow River near the Georgia International Horse Park has captured the attention of river-lovers and others who have put together plans for a clean-up.

Tonya Bechtler, with Yellow River Water Trail, said the garbage pile was discovered on Aug. 26 as she and other river enthusiasts were scouting the Yellow River Water Trail, which is being developed in phases from Gwinnett County to Jackson Lake.

That discovery led to a “big push” to get the river cleaned up, and now groups are coming from all over the state to help with a Yellow River Water Trail event on Sept. 20.

Bechtler, who lives in Mansfield, said the annual Rivers Alive events in Rockdale and Newton counties will also include clean-up at the site, which is about three-quarters of a mile from the horse park near the Newton/Rockdale county line.

Bechtler described the garbage pile as one of the worst that river enthusiasts have encountered, but she said it doesn’t appear to to be a toxic pile-up. She added that there are no residences nearby.

“There’s one barrel that has something questionable in it, and an old rusted-out refrigerator that has no Freon in it,” she said.

She surmised that heavy rainfall over the summer washed a lot of litter into the waterway and it collected with logs, limbs and other debris. She estimated the trash pile is 50 yards wide, 20 yards long and about 3 feet deep.

The goal will be to clear away the trash and debris and open the waterway.

The Yellow River Water Trail cleanup is set for Sept. 20 starting at 9 a.m. Bechtler said organizers will set up a yellow umbrella in a field behind the horse park and will provide water, Gatorade, garbage bags and gloves. She advised volunteers to bring a reusable water bottle and their own lunch if they plan to stay that long. For more information on the Yellow River Water Trail event, log on to the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Yellow.River.River.Trail.

Newton County’s Rivers Alive event is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 5. Volunteers are to meet at LongHorn on U.S. Highway 278. Participants will then go out to clean areas throughout the county. Later in the day, volunteers will meet at the Alcovy Conservation Center of the Georgia Wildlife Federation for lunch. Contact Robert Phillips at rphillips@gwf.org for more information.

Rockdale’s Rivers Alive event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 12. Volunteers should meet at Pine Log Park Pavilion at 1500 Ga. Highway 138. Registration forms are available at www.rockdalecounty.org. Forms can be mailed to Stormwater Events, P.O. Box 1495, Conyers, GA 30012, or dropped off at the county’s Administration and Services Building, 958 Milstead Ave., Conyers. For more information, call 770-278-7142.

For more information on Rivers Alive events statewide, go to www.riversalive.com.