Joe P. Asher
The Cumberland River is a little bit cleaner thanks to a volunteer cleanup on Saturday.
Senior Health Environmentalist for the Harlan County Heath Department Lisa Tolliver is in charge of this year’s cleanup.
“The river cleanup is a an annual event that was started by Croley Forester to clean up the waterways in the county,” said Tolliver. “This year the cleanup is sponsored by Harlan County Fiscal Court, Harlan Rotary Club and Harlan County Shriners Club.”
According to Tolliver many in the county have volunteered to help.
“We’ve got the cadets and the cadre from the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy who are volunteering their community service time to help us. We have Phillips Excavating, Smith Backhoe and Dozer and Tommy Pace Construction that are volunteering their time and their equipment today to help as well as a few local volunteers. Lou’s Kountry Kitchen provided breakfast for everyone,” said Tolliver.
The event is intended to benefit the residents of Harlan County as well as tourists who come to the area for recreational purposes.
“The river cleanup was started in order to clear the waterways, to get the large garbage out and to identify straight pipes so we can get those straight pipes fixed,” said Tolliver. “We report those to the division of water and they come in and give an enforcement notice and those straight pipes are eradicated.”
The situation of straight pipes running into the river dates back decades.
“It can be washing machine water or from a sink or it can be sewer,” said Tolliver. “Years ago people didn’t realize they needed to run the water that discharged from the washing machine or the sink into their septic tank. The laws just weren’t very clear years ago. You have to remember that some of these houses have been here since the 30s.”
A cleaner river could result in more tourism from water sports such as kayaking, canoeing and fishing.
“We do have a lot of paddle sport interest in this area,” said Tolliver. “The river is going to be cleaned up so that our waterways are clean for the people that live here. It will also benefit tourists that use our waterways.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com