The annual Clean Sweep of the Great Miami River event took place this year on Friday, July 15, 2022. Approximately, 1,240 pounds of trash including eight tires were removed.
This year, 55 volunteers and various types of equipment collected trash, including multiple tires, a safe door, a bike and bike frame, along with a cow skull and femur. Volunteers in canoes and those walking along the shores covered the stretch of the river starting at the Logan/Shelby County line to Roadside Park in Sidney.
The City of Sidney became involved with the Clean Sweep in 2004. The city is required by its Ohio EPA General Stormwater Permit to coordinate a minimum of five public involvement activities during the five-year permit term. Organizing the local section of the Clean Sweep of the Great Miami River meets this requirement.
In the last 15 years the group has removed over 600,000 pounds of debris and approximately 8,000 tires from the Great Miami River. The local section in Shelby County averages about 3,000 pounds of trash each year.
Over the years, a number of interesting things have been found during the Clean Sweep event. About ten years ago, two canoe loads of Ohio EPA volunteers were paddling down the river as part of the Piqua to Sidney section and spotted what they thought was a turtle shell or a ball stuck in the muddy river bank. It turned out to be the skull camp of an adolescent boy from the Adena Period of early people in Ohio. It was estimated to be 2500 to 3000 years old! In the Sidney section, one of the most interesting things found was a loaded 9mm handgun.
Prior to the development of the new well field the river was the city’s primary source of drinking water and still remains as a backup water source, so keeping the river clean continues to be critical.