The annual shoreline cleanup day at Lake Wallenpaupack yielded a record 27.7 tons of debris, far more than the previous record in in 2016, when 14.48 tons were collected, Nick Spinelli, administrator for Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District told their board at the June meeting.

PALMYRA TWP. (Pike) - The annual shoreline cleanup day at Lake Wallenpaupack yielded a record 27.7 tons of debris, far more than the previous record in in 2016, when 14.48 tons were collected, Nick Spinelli, administrator for Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District told their board at the June meeting.
One concern that was voiced, however, is a large amount of the debris- Styrofoam pieces, wood and metal from dock slips - was brought in by community associations which filled the containers quickly, not giving private shoreline owners much of a chance.

“Our Lake Cleanup Day was an overwhelming success,” Spinelli said at first, citing the tonnage. The 27.7 tons filled eight trash containers. The 14.48 tons last year took up only six containers.

“Which brings us to a point of discussion. Early on this was shoreline debris that people were getting rid of, and it has sort of become a cheaper way for people to rebuild their docks and dispose of the debris,” he said. Arguments could be made that without this service, someone might instead burn it on the shoreline, he said, adding that the program was not designed to be a cheap way to get rid of the scrap after someone rebuilds “200 boat slips.”

Board member Keith Williams questioned whether it may be cheaper for an association to rent their own trash receptacles rather than transport the debris to the cleanup site. Heather Hopkins, who represents Brookfield Renewable Energy on the board, said it costs between $6,000 and $7,000 for six trash containers, and this time they had to rent two more. Brookfield, the power company that now owns Lake Wallenpaupack, is paying for the containers.

The service started several years ago under PPL. It is held in late June, and is by invitation only; letters are sent out to the lakefront owners and the event is not advertised publicly. Wateshed District volunteers help at the site, in the Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center back parking lot. The invitation letter needs to be shown when the truck comes in with debris.

Alex Zidock, who is also on the board, mentioned the bright side, reminding that the event is good public relations.

Commercial marinas are not invited, but Hopkins noted that some of the associations have as big a dock as some of the marinas. She noted that while they don’t want the dock debris floating in the lake, it was meant for residential docks. Brookfield is discussing it internally, but wanted to include the Watershed District.
The gate was opened at about 8:45 a.m. Jim Shook, District Chairman, said, “When I got here at 9:30, four out of six [of the containers] were already full. That is crazy.” At 11:30 a.m., they were completely full. “That was so unfair to the residentials,” Hopkins said. “No one had a chance to get here because two communities completely filled them.”

Two of the associations, which brought the majority of the debris, made donations to the Watershed District of $500 apiece, Spinelli said. Another association which brought a large amount, donated $50.

Hopkins advised that the first step would be to eliminate associations from the program and see how it goes.
An ad-hoc committee from LWWMD will discuss it further and meet with Brookfield to find a solution.

Spinelli added that the cleanup day is “strictly P.R.” and dollar-wise, they normally break even or lose a bit. This year they made a little. “But it’s a worthwhile event, a good P.R. thing,” he stated.

[SEE THE SATURDAY EDITION FOR MORE MEETING ITEMS.]
For more information on the LWWMD visit wallenpaupackwatershed.org and their Facebook page or call 570-226-3865.