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Clean water is vital to all of us
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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Clean water should matter to all of us.
This past week, Oct. 21-27, was Clean Water Week.
Our state continues to face critical drought concerns, particularly in North Georgia. We normally take clean and readily available water for granted, just as we do the air we breathe.
The average American uses 80 to 100 gallons of water a day, so we need to do all we can to conserve and to protect our water sources daily.
Non-point source pollution is still the major source of water pollution. It is the greatest threat to our waterways. In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates up to 80 percent of pollution is caused by storm-water runoff. Although we may not be able to do much to end rain droughts, (except an occasional rain dance perhaps), our role in creating non-point source pollution is something we can all take action against.
Rain is certainly a good thing — especially these days, but essentially when it rains it pollutes.
Storm-water runoff is the rain that hits the ground and flows off streets, rooftops and lawns. As it flows, it carries spilled or leaked motor oil on the roads, litter thrown or blown out of vehicles, lawn fertilizers and any other waste.
Stormwater, with its new “litter and debris friends” it picked up along the way, then collects in storm drains and drainage swales; and flow directly into local streams, rivers, and other waterways — untreated.
A common misconception is water draining into storm drains goes to a wastewater treatment center. In fact, that’s not the case. Actually, what goes in a storm drain ends up in our waterways.
Recent events, such as Rivers Alive, are partially symbolic. We certainly want to remind folks our water is a precious resource we can all help to protect. But there is a practical purpose as well. As any of the 100-plus participants from the events that took place in the past two weeks can tell you, a lot of trash and debris end up in our waterways.
In some areas, much of it is left there directly by people who just aren’t thinking. When you see how many bottles are left at lovely areas, such as Riceboro Creek, you know there must be some really lazy and sorry folks out there.
If you want to drink there, then pick up your trash when you are done. It is disgusting. Shame on you!
But quite a bit of the litter accumulating in some of these areas, such as Riceboro Creek, South Newport River and the Altamaha Landing, is coming from our littered roadways as well. It does not have to be that way.
Someone asked me a few weeks ago why we were cleaning Riceboro Creek again this year. I asked them if they had been there lately. In just a quick drive into the fishing/picnic area, it’s easy to see numerous pockets of litter that were visible along the edge of the marsh.
We gathered a thousand pounds of trash just from Riceboro Creek on Oct. 20. People, we can do better than this. All of these areas in the county and in our towns could be enjoyed more by all of us if they were clean.
More than 100 volunteers in Liberty and Long counties gave several hours of their personal time to clean some of our local waterways and stream crossings recently. I wish I had the space to name them all.
Thanks to each of you for making that personal effort. Thanks also to our sponsors for these events - SNF Chemtall, the Coastal Courier, Liberty County Solid Waste Department, Long County Code Enforcement, Southland Waste and Joe Raymer of RMR Associates.
I also want to particularly thank Nelean Lewis of Walthourville, Terri Willett of Flemington, the Youth Challenge Academy, Michelle and Tyler Poppell of Long County, Lynette Gloria Cook-Osbourne, Leah Poole, Pam Henderson, Dot Moss and — last but not least — David Sapp with Liberty County Solid Waste. Dave is the 2007 Keep Georgia Beautiful Man of the Year because of his commitment to such issues.
These types of cleanups require a tremendous amount of planning and effort. They cannot happen without the help of many dedicated volunteers. Let’s thank our lucky stars we have people like that here in Liberty and Long counties.

Dates to remember
Nov. 10-17: This is your chance for a 20-minute holiday makeover. More details soon!
Nov. 15: America Recycles Day. Take the recycling pledge.
For more information on Keep Liberty County Beautiful programs, contact me at 368-4888 or
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