Keeping river clean is a community effort, leaders say

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 7:04 PM EDT
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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Savannah River runs through the heart of our community.

It’s our drinking water and used for recreational purposes, but the riverkeeper says having everyone make sure the river stays clean is the goal.

Since she was a teenager, Mary Garrett has enjoyed everything the Savannah River has to offer, but now she’s concerned.

“We used to play in the rapids, and we come down here as much as possible and use our waterways every weekend,”

Recently, she captured pictures along the river. Construction debris from the I-20 bridge project dangled from trees and drowned in the flow of the river.

“It is big. It’s massive, huge plastic that could cover a vehicle or a small home,”

Truck Carlson with the Savannah Riverkeeper Organization says this happens with high water levels and storms.

“It’s just being aware and knowing that a river can rise quickly, and when it does, it’s going to pull everything from the bank. Just explain to them how important it is to keep the debris far enough away to where it limits the possibility of that happening,” he said.

The construction company says it’s a fabric that was dislodged during flooding earlier this month. They were able to remove all contaminants from the area before that happened.

“They’re probably going to need some equipment because from what I can see, it doesn’t look like it can be done by kayak, and there’s some pretty heavy debris in there,” he said.

They expect most of the debris to be cleaned up on Tuesday.

“The key to it all is the citizens. We can’t have eyes everywhere all the time, and having concerned citizens reach out and take great pictures so we can see it is a huge thing. That’s the way it needs to work,” said Carlson.

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