Allegheny River cleanup efforts are paying off

Volunteers hauled a little bit of everything out of the Allegheny River on Friday, even the kitchen sink.

Despite an impressive haul, five years of river cleanup efforts are showing.

“The good news this year is it’s way down,” organizer John Beard said of the collection. “Everybody who has done this for several years can tell.”

He expects this year to be the first in which the roll-off container designated for metal will not have to be emptied in the middle of the cleanup process.

Still, there is plenty of work for those who volunteer.

Jerry Park and Scott Rimpa paddled their canoe, wallowing under the weight of two men and a pile of metal and other trash between, into the trash drop off of Riverside Drive. They stopped at an old dump site that they’ve visited for several years. “It’s looking a lot better now,” Rimpa said.

Among the many items they pulled free was a coil of about 400 feet of eight-gauge wire.

Leslie Stewart and Tom Christie had the kitchen sink among their discoveries.

Dan Peck brought in the base of a mint green toilet.

Missy Wahlberg and Margaret Harris had a hoosier cabinet top and what Beard called a 27 1/2 gallon drum – half of a 55-gallon barrel.

Kelly O’Neill brought in “bigfoot shoes” – about size 14 – according to “Grandpa” Dave Wargo, who was documenting the materials brought in Friday.

Other items collected included full cans of four different brands of beer, two footballs, two softballs – one still shrink-wrapped, the 2013 Cleanup mascot – ‘Pinkie’ the My Little Pony – and thousands of pounds of miscellaneous trash.

The annual event wraps up Saturday with the stretch of the river from Buckaloons to Wildwood Inn.