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Posted: 4:18 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013
By Greg Suskin
LAKE WYLIE, S.C. —
Trash, tree limbs, and debris still line the shores of Lake Wylie nine days after it first floated into the lake.Flooding in North Carolina along the south fork of the Catawba River washed all kinds of debris into the lake, leaving a path of it more than a mile long.Wylie was as dirty as most had ever seen it."It was awful. Just amazing," said Rick Gaskins, executive director of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation.Now, the issue is how to clean it all up. The Riverkeeper Foundation holds an annual cleanup in the first week of October called The River Sweep.Gaskins said this year, it will be quite a challenge."We will need a lot of volunteers this year. There is an exceptional amount of trash," he said.The foundation plans to bring in heavy machinery to help with the lifting and several large industrial dumpsters.Some lakefront homeowners have already called the organization to make sure their cove is on the list for cleanup this fall.Last week, the floodwaters carried a big mess down the river. There were tires, 55-gallon drums, propane tanks, and containers of paint and other products. Even a TV was seen floating in a cove.Larry Bunch, manager of the Lake Wyllie marina, said his employees spent hours piling up logs and boards they fished out of the water."We've used tractors; we've used forklifts to pull stuff off the bank now, that's (the bank is) still in the water," he said.Bunch said homeowners are calling his office for help, too."Folks are calling and saying, 'How do I get these logs out of my back yard?'" he said.Lynn and Allyson Schilb did a lot of the cleanup work on their own. Their cove was so full of debris, they could barely walk across it.Now, most of the junk has settled to the bottom of the lake. That's an even greater concern for them.Their grandchildren go there to swim."I am worried about the health issues, "Lynn Schilb said. "What's on the bottom? I don't know."Gaskins is also concerned that debris lining the shores will float back out into the lake when the water level rises again."This will become a navigational hazard again, and that's a problem," he said.
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