Lake Erie Cleanup Seeks Volunteers to Collect Trash on Sept. 15

Sep 06, 2012, 11:22 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Northwest Regional Office

Event Marks 10th Anniversary; New Sites Added

MEADVILLE, Pa., Sept. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Protection invites the public to improve the Lake Erie watershed by participating in the Pennsylvania-Lake Erie International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Through this annual event, more than 8,100 dedicated volunteers have removed more than 57 tons of debris and trash from the Lake Erie shoreline and watershed during the past nine years. Since 2010, nearly three tons of recyclable materials have been collected and separated from the trash and debris.  

"This is the 10th annual cleanup along the Lake Erie shoreline and tributaries," DEP Northwest Regional Director Kelly Burch said. "Because of previous success, we are adding additional cleanup areas in McKean Township and the Edinboro area, and we look forward to another strong volunteer turnout to help us make the event another huge success."

This year's effort will focus on 16 sites along the Lake Erie shoreline, from Raccoon Creek in western Erie County to the North East Marina, 20 Mile Creek and Freeport Beach on the eastern end of the county. New sites have been added in Edinboro Borough and McKean Township and will include Elk Creek at the I-79/McKean exit; Edinboro University; and Mallory Run, the outlet of Edinboro Lake.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield joined the Pennsylvania-Lake Erie ICC effort this year by encouraging employees to participate and providing a $7,500 grant to purchase green tote bags made of recycled plastic bottles for all ICC volunteers. The bags were also distributed to the first 1,000 attendees at the Aug. 31 Erie Seawolves minor-league baseball game to publicize the cleanup.

"The local ICC effort is a volunteer-driven event, and we thank each and every one of them for their ongoing support and commitment to a clean environment in the Erie County area," DEP Coastal Resources Management Environmental Planner Don Benczkowski said. He has coordinated the cleanup each year.

The information gathered in past cleanups has been used as educational material for environmental programs in local schools and highlighted in the Erie Times-News' Newspapers in Education section. During the school year, the Erie Times-News publishes a page each Tuesday dedicated to environmental issues.

International Coastal Cleanup, the oldest and largest volunteer project of its kind, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Since 2003, DEP's Coastal Resources Management program has been the main sponsor of the Pennsylvania-Lake Erie International Coastal Cleanup.

For more information, visit To volunteer or view the Erie ICC statistics, visit For more information about watersheds, visit, keyword: Water Management.

Media contact: Amanda Witman, 717-979-0218 (mobile)

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Northwest Regional Office