River Sweep

River Sweep

The Ohio River Trail Council is in full support of the Ohio River Sweep Program.

Since 1989, this award-winning cleanup for the Ohio River and its tributaries brings thousands of volunteers to the riverbanks to collect tons of trash and debris. River Sweep encompasses the entire length of the river, from its origin in Pittsburgh, PA to its end in Cairo, IL, including 1,962 miles of shoreline and many tributaries.

More than 21,000 volunteers from public organizations, civic groups, recreational clubs, and the general public in six states bordering the river come together to collect more than 20,000 tons of trash and other debris from the banks of the Ohio River and tributaries.

Date: Saturday - June 20, 2015 (8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)

River Sweep is an event organized by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, an interstate water pollution agency for the Ohio River Valley, along with environmental protection and natural resource agencies from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.


Is the River Sweep an annual event?

Yes, the River Sweep is an annual cleanup event held each year on the third Saturday in June. A yearly cleanup program is needed to keep the river suitable for public use. In addition to keeping the riverbanks clean, ORSANCO hopes that increased public exposure to the river will foster greater environmental concern for it in the future.

Who should participate?

Anyone wanting to make a difference in the quality of the Ohio River should participate. The River Sweep provides an excellent opportunity for many civic groups, school organizations, and recreational clubs to join the Ohio River Trail Council and actively participate in this community service event. Any individual, young or old, or any group is welcome. Children under 18 need a parent signature on the liability waiver before participating.

What will I gain from participating in the Sweep?

You will play an active role in improving your environment. You also will be part of a unique experience - the river-long Sweep is one of the largest cleanup events of its kind in the United States.

What happens to trash collected from the riverbanks?

All trash is either recycled or disposed of in an environmentally acceptable manner.

Are there designated cleanup sites on the river?

Yes. There will be at least one designated cleanup area for each of the counties bordering the river, plus additional sites along tributaries. Areas will be chosen according to the amount of litter on the site and accessibility to volunteers. Marinas and boat ramps typically make good cleanup areas. To locate the site(s) for your county, click here, or contact ORSANCO's toll-free Sweep Hotline at 1-800-359-3977.

What should I wear and/or bring to the River Sweep?

Wear old, comfortable clothes and shoes or boots that you will not mind getting dirty. Close-toed shoes are also recommended. Trash bags and gloves will be provided.

Is there danger involved?

River Sweep can be a fun day, filled with good company and the knowledge that the river will be cleaner from your efforts. However, you should keep a few things in mind to keep the event free of accidents: