VIDEO

Annual Penobscot River cleanup nets 4 tons of trash

Posted May 12, 2012, at 3:59 p.m.
Last modified May 12, 2012, at 4:15 p.m.
 Gracie Brochu (right), 15, helps fellow volunteer Ellie Leighton, 15, as they comb the bank of the Sedgeunkedunk Stream for trash with fellow Brewer High School freshman classmate Jordan Burgess (background) during the eighth annual riverside cleanup in Brewer Saturday morning, May 12, 2012. Over the years, scores of local volunteers have removed tons of garbage and debris in areas along the Penobscot River.
Gracie Brochu (right), 15, helps fellow volunteer Ellie Leighton, 15, as they comb the bank of the Sedgeunkedunk Stream for trash with fellow Brewer High School freshman classmate Jordan Burgess (background) during the eighth annual riverside cleanup in Brewer Saturday morning, May 12, 2012. Over the years, scores of local volunteers have removed tons of garbage and debris in areas along the Penobscot River. Buy Photo
Deputy Brewer Mayor Kevin O'Connell holds up an old discarded Howard Johnson's cola can, one of many trash items he and others removed from an area along the Sedgeunkedunk Stream in Brewer Saturday morning, May 12, 2012.
Deputy Brewer Mayor Kevin O'Connell holds up an old discarded Howard Johnson's cola can, one of many trash items he and others removed from an area along the Sedgeunkedunk Stream in Brewer Saturday morning, May 12, 2012. Buy Photo
Brewer Parks and Recreation after-school coordinator Aimee Cyr (from left), Brewer economic development specialist Nicole Gogan and student volunteer Lizzy Duff of Brewer strain to pull up a steel cable that was meshed into a tree root during their cleanup efforts along the Sedgeunkedunk Stream in Brewer Saturday morning, May 12, 2012.
Brewer Parks and Recreation after-school coordinator Aimee Cyr (from left), Brewer economic development specialist Nicole Gogan and student volunteer Lizzy Duff of Brewer strain to pull up a steel cable that was meshed into a tree root during their cleanup efforts along the Sedgeunkedunk Stream in Brewer Saturday morning, May 12, 2012. Buy Photo
Ellie Leighton, 15, of Brewer removes a ceramic shard from the the Sedgeunkedunk Stream as James Bertolino, 6, and his mom, Janet Bertolino of Brewer, comb the bank for trash during their volunteer cleanup efforts in Brewer Saturday morning, May 12, 2012.
Ellie Leighton, 15, of Brewer removes a ceramic shard from the the Sedgeunkedunk Stream as James Bertolino, 6, and his mom, Janet Bertolino of Brewer, comb the bank for trash during their volunteer cleanup efforts in Brewer Saturday morning, May 12, 2012. Buy Photo

BREWER, Maine — Some of the hundreds of volunteers who removed more than 4 tons of trash during Saturday’s morning cleanup of the Penobscot River and other waterways in Brewer actually found “treasure.”

“I found an old Chevy moon hubcap from the 1920s,” City Councilor Kevin O’Connell said. “Two years ago I got a ceramic license plate. Are they historic? Sure, they’re older than me.”

The city’s Stormwater Public Education and Participation Committee has hosted the annual river cleanup for eight years and O’Connell has participated for the last six, focusing his efforts along the banks of the Sedgeunkedunk Stream in South Brewer.

“We found an old 1930s freezer with a crank handle,” said Nicole Hanson, who helped organize volunteers from Brewer’s two Boy Scouts clubs, Troop 1 and Troop 15, and Brownie Troop 911. “Do you want to see it? I’ve got it in the truck. It still has the handle.”

Some of the trash was unique and interesting, said Dedham resident Heidi Fish, who was part of a group of nine, including some members of Girl Scout Troop 351 from Dedham.

“We found an old, homemade jar of jam that had never been opened” off Sparks Avenue, she said. “We think it was grape. It was purple, but it had seeds in it.”

Over the last eight years, volunteers young and old have removed more than 35 tons of trash, including discarded refrigerators, mattresses, metal and clothing, during the annual cleanup along the Penobscot River, its tributaries and other sensitive areas in Brewer.

More than a dozen Brewer firefighters, clubs such as longtime participants Geocaching in Maine, and groups from local businesses, including CES Inc., Brewer’s U.S. Cellular store and Somic America Inc., formerly known as Brewer Automotive Components, also participated.

Jeff’s Catering sponsored the noontime thank-you picnic at Brewer Auditorium and the local Dunkin’ Donuts brought coffee and donuts for volunteers early Saturday.

Even though around 4 tons of trash was collected this year, almost everyone reported finding less trash than in years past, Ken Locke, the city’s environmental services director, told volunteers at the picnic.

“Maybe we’re making progress,” he said.

“We found very little trash because we’ve done it every year,” said Hanson, who, along with the Scouts, cleans up around Eaton Brook. “We only walked out with two trash bags, compared to 20 the first year.”

“It’s working,” said O’Connell.

SEE COMMENTS →

ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business
ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business