By Martha Jacob –
The Ohio River runs beside the Village of Ripley, Aberdeen and Higginsport in Brown County. Residents living in those villages have adjusted their lives to accommodate the beautiful river.
In 1972 Congress passed the landmark Clean Water Act, designed to protect all of America’s waterways, from the smallest streams to its rivers and its banks, from not only pollution but from utter destruction and litter.
The Clean Water Act has been a great success at reducing pollution that enters the Ohio River but through the years, a huge array of unusual items have been pulled from the depths of the river, according to Lisa Cochran, community coordinator with ORSANCO (Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission) Riversweep.
“Ohio River Sweep is an annual event held to cleanup the shoreline of the river,” Cochran said. “Volunteers from all the villages that hug the shoreline take part as well as the many people who boat and fish the river. The sweep helps keep the shoreline and the river suitable for the public.”
The WAVE Foundation at the Newport Aquarium regularly releases a list of the top 9 weirdest things that the River Sweep has found through the years including:
• Unopened and unlabeled aluminum cans of food;
• Stuffed animal ‘monster,’ which won the oddest item found in 2014;
• Unopened squeeze-it drink bottle;
• Old lampshades;
• Torn-up volleyball;
• A NWO Wrestling poster;
• Soggy blueprints for a skyscraper;
• Bags of dirty socks.
According to Cochran some of the other strange items found include trucks, a class ring, several water heaters and refrigerators.
One of the boat captains with BB Riverboats in Newport told people on one of its dinner cruises that several tractors, riding lawn mowers and many push mowers have also been pulled from the Ohio River. He added that many bowling balls have been fished from its waters as well and no one has a clue how they got there.
The Ohio River is 981 miles long and flows through or borders Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It is the source of drinking water for more than 3 million people, almost 10% of the U.S. population, live in the Ohio River Basin.
Approximately 164 species of fish have been found in the Ohio River, 80 species of mussels once lived in the river, 5 of which are in danger of extinction. Today there are only about 50 species of mussels.
To learn more about ORSANCO please call (800) 359-3977 or visit www.OhioRiverSweep.org