Englewood: ‘South Platte River Cleanup Day’ recap

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From the Associated Press via the Sky-Hi Daily News:

More than 200 people participated in the 4th annual South Platte River Clean Up on Sunday. Some took to the water in kayaks and on rafts to pluck debris from the river and dump it in floating trash cans. Others walked or biked along the bank, cleaning up a parallel path. Organizers say they’ve removed more than six tons of garbage over the years.

More coverage from The Denver Post (Scott Willoughby). From the article:

With support from a host of river-centric sponsors, the intrepid team of volunteers has paddled the channel and fanned out along the banks of 6-10 miles of the South Platte to collect 6 tons of trash in the past three years. The official weigh-in from Sunday’s offerings is still pending. Boaters piled into rafts, canoes and kayaks to gather debris wrapped in the reeds and floating in eddies for 6 miles below the Union Street Whitewater Park put-in, while cyclists and pedestrians walked the recreation path to snatch trash littering the riverside down to Habitat Park…

With that in mind, Confluence Kayaks has teamed up with Denver Parks and Recreation partners at The Greenway Foundation and river stakeholders such as Colorado Whitewater and Denver Trout Unlimited (TU) to form an entity known as Protect our Urban River Environment, or PURE. PURE has initiated efforts to work with municipal leaders along the South Platte in Arapahoe, Denver and Adams counties to increase the focus on preventing trash and debris from getting into the river and its tributaries, as well as the actual removal. The first step, organizers say, is to retrofit sewage and storm-water outfall pipes with pollutant traps designed to collect the garbage before it flows into the river, rather than pulling it out piece by piece. The group has approached the state’s Water Quality Control Commission about listing the river as “impaired” because of the amount of trash. The river is undergoing an EPA-enforced effort to reduce levels of E. coli and other pathogens, and PURE would like to see a similar Total Maximum Daily Load established for trash…

“We’re asking the entities that are responsible for the water quality on the Platte to take responsibility for it without a regulatory or enforcement body coming down and saying that from above. The city governments of Denver, of Englewood and of Littleton — anybody who has a storm-water discharge permit — we’re asking those entities to take responsibility for the situation,” Kahn said. “The Greenway Foundation has developed this plan for the South Platte River, and we don’t really feel like it can live up to its potential until the water quality is dealt with.

More South Platte Basin coverage here.

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