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Ohio River Sweep being held in smaller groups due to COVID

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Ohio River Sweep annual volunteer cleanup is changing this year as a result of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Large numbers of volunteers usually participate in the event, so organizers have introduced “Mini-Sweeps.”

Participants in West Virginia choose the date and location, and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission will provide support and supplies for a socially distanced cleanup event, officials said.

Events can be held between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31 in small groups to allow for social distancing, the Department of Environmental Protection said in a news release.

ORSANCO has partnered with environmental protection agencies in West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania since 1989 on the Ohio River Sweep. The effort extends the entire length of the river with volunteers from the six states bordering the river removing litter.

Volunteers who want to participate can email DEPwvmis@wv.gov or call (800) 322-5530 to plan their cleanup and arrange for supplies, the release said.