WACO, Texas – Three days of downpours in Central Texas dropped down over five inches of rain. The showers are impacting the Brazos River, causing trash and debris to pile up just under Interstate 35.
“I’ve never seen it this bad. It has nowhere to go. Thankfully, we aren’t flooding. So blessed in that aspect. But the debris is just not going anywhere,” said Erin Ward, Owner of Pura Vida Paddle in Waco.
Ward has owned Pura Vida Paddle since March 2017. She says she’s never seen the trash and debris pile up like this.
“I’ve never seen it where, in one night, I mean, it is so backed up it is crazy,” said Ward.
That’s why she posted a picture on Facebook telling her customers they would be closed because of the weather and debris, saying, “We will need a river cleanup soon.”
“Unfortunately, we have barges behind us at I-35, which we all know of I-35 construction, but unfortunately all of the debris is getting stuck on the barges,” said Ward.
The trash is not only stuck there, it’s all along the edges of the Brazos River.
“A lot of the litter and debris that ends up in the street goes into the storm drains. And when we get big rains like this, all that litter and debris comes out and into our Brazos River. So if you’ve been down there or just happened to walk by and it looks really nasty, that’s why,” said Ashley Millerd Crownover, Executive Director of Keep Waco Beautiful.
All that debris could potentially hurt our animal life.
“It’s not good for the Earth. It’s not good for the environment. It’s not good for all the fish that are in this water, the turtles. Like, turtles get stuck, you know? A lot of the plastic things that Cokes come in and stuff, they get their heads stuck in them,” said Ward.
Keep Waco Beautiful, along with the Group W Bench Litter Patrol, are recruiting volunteers for a big clean up day on Saturday.
“Let’s get together. Let’s clean this up because it’s Labor Day Weekend. We are supposed to have fun on the water this weekend,” said Ward.
The clean up will be held Saturday, and volunteers don’t need to bring anything with them – everything will be provided.
As an added incentive, from 8am to 10am, Pura Vida Paddle will provide the equipment for free to help with clean up efforts, and when the dock opens up at 10am, if you show them a bag full of trash that you collected, they will offer 15% off your rental.
The clean up will be held most of the day Saturday at 100 N Interstate 35, Waco, TX 76704.