Volunteers work to keep the White River clean

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Many people had no problem getting dirty Saturday morning to make sure the White River was cleaned.

Dozens met at locations across Central Indiana to volunteer for the 21st annual White River Cleanup.

Shawn Phillips and his 8-year-old son, Andrew, were found at the River Road location picking up trash from the bank of the river.

Phillips said, “You don’t know what the condition of the river is until you actually get in the water and see for yourself what’s going on on the banks.”

Phillips’ young son only had one concern. Andrew said, “I don’t want to get my socks wet.”

The two got inside a canoe and paddled their way down the river.

For Andrew, the community event was a way for him to earn a Cub Scout badge.

He said, “All I really want to do is just hang out and try to keep this community safe and don’t get the water polluted. That’s what being a Cub Scout is.”

Organizers said they have seen some major improvements in the White River during the 21 years of the community effort.

Jason Armour, a storm water engineer for the City of Fishers, is optimistic.

“We are seeing results, and we’ve actually had to come up with different sites to try to find the trash and make sure we hit every area possible,” he said. “This is our drinking water so there really isn’t anything better you can do, in my opinion, because it’s our drinking water and it’s our health.”

Some of the items pulled from the White River this year were cans, bottles, flip flops and even what appeared to be the top of a washing machine.

Phillips hoped his son has learned a valuable lesson from the volunteer work.

Phillips said, “Well, I hope that his take away is that he can be a good steward of the environment for a long time and bring this to his children one day.”

Andrew said, “It’s about how much you care about your community and that’s what matters. We are counting on you.”

Residents are reminded of these tips to keep the water clean:

  1. Refrain from dumping anything into a ditch, stream or storm drain, including yard waste.
  2. Clean up and properly dispose of pet or animal waste.
  3. Use a soil test to determine your lawn’s fertilizer needs and consider the use of phosphorus free fertilizers.
  4. Use bug, rodent, algae, and week killers sparingly and according to the label.
  5. Wash your car at a full or self-service car wash instead of your driveway.
  6. Direct swimming pool and spa filter backwash into the sanitary sewer.
  7. Report any illegal dumping into storm drains or waterway to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s 24-hour hotline at 1-888-233-7745.

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