Sunday, August 15, 1999

Creeks get a well-needed cleaning

Volunteers remove lots of trash

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Three of Northern Kentucky's dirtiest creeks got a good once-over from volunteers on Saturday.

        The Campbell County Jaycees held an event called CRIK — Creek Restoration in Kentucky.

        The groups focused on Elijah Creek in Boone County, Four Mile Creek in Campbell County and Banklick Creek in Kenton County.

        “Everything we looked at said these were the worst three creeks in Northern Kentucky,” said Mike Madden, an organizer of the event.

        Mr. Madden, a Jaycee and a sewer worker for Sanitation District No. 1, said he walks near the creeks every day when repairing trunk lines.

        “It's a shame to look across a creek and see deer running next to motorcycles or barrels or to see a raccoon playing in the same creek where there are batteries,” he said.

        So he organized the two cleanup crews, as well as several others in Northern Kentucky.

        Backwater from floods and the irresponsibility of dumpers are what cause most of the pollution and litter problems in the creeks.

        “Most people in their neighborhoods don't think about where their garbage goes,” said Mike Lyons, president of the Campbell County Jaycees.

        “A gum wrapper, a cup, an empty can starts in a creek and slowly makes its way to the river.”

        A group of young girls and their fathers waded knee deep in the mucky water of Four Mile Creek clutching garbage bags and trying to keep their balance.

        They brought out about 20 bags of cans, Styrofoam and other debris.

        They also helped organizers map larger pieces such as refrigerators and tires to remove later.

        “It was really gross,” said Christine Fischer, 11, of Alexandria. “It was fun at first, but it got really cold at the end.

        “I didn't know what we would find. We found a tractor tire, a refrigerator and a bunch of other tires.”

        Mr. Madden said the three county jailers have offered to allow inmates to help.

        “That will be phase two,” he said.

        Organizers say they hope the event will carry forth from year to year, focusing on different creeks.

        “Every creek will have its year,” Mr. Madden said.

        They hope to eventually clean up every creek in Northern Kentucky.

        “I'll tell you, our work is cut out for us,” he said.


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