Man gains steam in ridding creek area of trash
PAMELA WOOD, Staff Writer
Thousands of people drive through the busy
Parole each day.
But few venture beyond the businesses and
office buildings, into the woods that are home to the very beginnings of
Bob Whitcomb hiked into those woods
and he didn't like what he saw: piles and piles of discarded tires,
scrap metal and even steel tankards.
"We were shocked when we came across a
massive dump on both sides of the hillsides," said Mr. Whitcomb, who
lives nearby in the Saefern community. "It
was just totally covered with trash from -- who knows?
- 50 or 100 years."
Appalled, Mr. Whitcomb snapped photos
and began a campaign to get the trash out. Working with the county
government, the Severn Riverkeeper Program and local businesses, he is
on his way to reaching his goal of cleaning up the headwaters of
Saltworks Creek, which feeds into the
In November and December, 13 tons of
trash and seven steel tanks were removed from the site.
Homes, which is building the 76-home
community nearby, arranged for a contractor and crew to spend two days
at the site, filling three roll-off Dumpsters with trash.
It was a way for K.
Hovnanian to improve its image, after
activists complained earlier this year that sediment was washing away
site and clouding Saltworks Creek, Mr.
officials couldn't be reached for comment.
The county pitched in with the
Dumpsters and employees to haul off the junk. And the
riverkeeper program paid for a contractor to
remove the tanks with a giant crane.
Though so much already has been
removed, Mr. Whitcomb said there's still a long way to go.
He hopes to get another contractor
lined up to remove other large items including a couch, stove and
And on April 1, he's hoping to get
volunteers to participate in a stream cleanup to remove the smaller
Mr. Whitcomb and other organizers of
the cleanups said they wanted to focus on getting the job done, rather
than assigning blame.
"Our attitude was, 'Let's just get it
fixed,'" said Scott Hymes, executive director of the Severn Riverkeeper
Mr. Hymes said the "public-private
partnership" on this stream cleanup is the sort of thing the
riverkeeper program wants to do more often.
"This is the kind of thing we're
trying to put together more," he said.
Mr. Whitcomb hopes the
Saltworks cleanup will be the first of many
in the area. In other parts of Saltworks
Creek, he's found two automobiles rotting away. And there are at least
22 other illegal dumpsites the county has identified in the
"There is still a lot left," Mr.
January 01, 2006,
Copyright © 2006