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Creek cleanup effort planned for September

April 07, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

Washers, dryers, toilets and shopping carts have been pulled out of Antietam Creek during past cleanups of the stretch that runs through Washington County, said Emilie R. Cooper of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Cooper said the state is trying to find help to stage another creek cleanup in September. The date, however, has not been decided.

"Antietam Creek has a lot of potential ... But it is in need of a lot of help," Cooper said. "There's lots of dumping on rural roads."

Cooper said organizers of the cleanup effort need volunteers to pick up trash and businesses to donate items such as food and garbage bags.

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During a creek cleanup last year, Cooper said Ledo Pizza & Pasta provided food to help feed the more than 65 volunteers who pulled garbage from the waterway, while 1-800-GOT-JUNK, a trash removal service, hauled items away.

Cooper said she wants to expand that kind of joint effort in September, and eventually establish Antietam Creek cleanup crews in municipalities countywide.

The state is trying to get local governments on board as well.

Cooper addressed the Hagerstown City Council earlier this week. Among other things, she told the council about the creek's condition.

Antietam Creek is designated as "impaired" by the Maryland Department of the Environment, Cooper said. That designation means the creek is contaminated with nitrogen and fertilizers.

There also is a high level of sediment, she said.

Littering in the creek can affect other bodies of water, Cooper said. Some of the contaminants that get dumped in Washington County flow into the Potomac River, and eventually wind up in Chesapeake Bay, she said.

Cooper said people who are caught dumping trash in Antietam Creek can face a minimum fine of $300.




Want to help clean up?

People interested in helping during the September cleanup of Antietam Creek may call Emilie R. Cooper of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at 301-791-4733 or send an e-mail to her at ecooper@dnr.state.md.us.

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