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Volunteers sought for clean-up effort

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Water Authority needs volunteers for a creek clean-up event at a local park, according to water authority officials.

Public Information Officer Suzanne Brown said volunteers will assist in picking up trash, litter and other debris from the Beaver Dam Creek in Independence Park, located at 8970 Thomas Road, in Jonesboro, during the "Rivers Alive Stream Cleanup."

The event will take place Oct. 23, from 10 a.m., to noon.

"The objective of this annual event is to get local residents involved in preserving and protecting our local waterways," said Kevin Osbey, storm water management manager for the water authority. "We work throughout the year to educate residents about the damage storm water pollution does to our local waterways, and how they can prevent this pollution from making its way into our drinking water reservoirs."

During a phone interview, Osbey said a trash-filled and polluted creek or stream can have various negative effects on people.

Osbey said some homes are located near creeks and streams, and, therefore, waste may wind up in someone's backyard.

"A lot of streams go through a normal resident's private property ... as a resident, you wouldn't want trash in your property," said Osbey.

Osbey said polluted streams and creeks may also cause water bills to increase, because the water authority uses more chemicals and treatment to clean the water, for consumption by county residents.

Floods could be created by the polluted streams and creeks, and it would affect neighboring properties, said Osbey. Floods can be caused by trash that is piled up in a stream or creek, creating a dam that directs the water flow upstream, said the storm water management manager.

Osbey added that individuals should not litter or discard trash on streets, because it may reach storm drains, which will lead to a creek or stream.

Spokeswoman Brown said the Clayton County Water Authority had a record number of volunteers at last year's clean-up event, which has been in existence for more than a decade.

"We had 118 volunteers, including a large group of students from Clayton State University, plus the AT&T Pioneers, [high-school] students, local scouts and families," explained Osbey. "We even received the Keep Georgia Beautiful award from Rivers Alive for the event. We certainly hope to have even more folks join us this year at Independence Park."

Brown added that if more volunteers assist at the event, they will aid in getting more tasks done. She said, during the clean-up, the water authority's storm water staff will provide volunteers with a safety briefing, and will perform water quality tests on a sample from Beaver Dam Creek, as part of World Water Monitoring Day.

Individuals interested in volunteering should contact Suzanne Brown at (770) 960-6972.