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Ongoing cleanup effort a super idea
Shore Sweep expanded by Lake Lanier Association
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As the rapidly shrinking Lake Lanier reveals unprecedented amounts of previously buried trash, the Lake Lanier Association has come up with a new way to tackle the problem.

Shore "Super" Sweep is a twist on Shore Sweep, the association’s annual lake cleanup that’s usually held in September. The "super" sweep is an ongoing effort rather than a single event.

"It’s just not possible to hold enough organized cleanups to deal with all the trash," said Vicki Barnhorst, executive director of the association. "There’s also a budgetary concern. Shore Sweep is usually sponsored by the marinas, which aren’t really in a financial position to help us right now."

Instead of a massive, lakewide cleanup, people are being asked to pick up trash whenever and wherever they can. Designated Dumpsters have been placed at five drop-off sites: Little Ridge Park in Cumming, Van Pugh Park South in Flowery Branch, Holiday Marina, Gainesville Marina and Port Royale Marina.

"We’ve been getting calls from people who’ve been picking up trash on their own and wanted to know where to take it," Barnhorst said.

The beauty of the new project is that it can fit anyone’s schedule. There may be people who’ve always wanted to participate in Shore Sweep but were never available on Saturday mornings, when the event is traditionally held.

"This is an opportunity for people to do something for the lake, when it’s convenient for them," Barnhorst said.

She hopes that volunteer groups, such as churches and Scout troops, will organize small cleanups as their schedules allow. Groups will be put in touch with site volunteers from the association, who will suggest the best areas to clean up and will provide trash bags.

A special phone number has been set up for this purpose, Barnhorst said.

The Dumpsters are designated for lake trash only, and tires and batteries (such as from cars or boat engines) must be left outside the container.

"Tires have to be recycled, and batteries have to be disposed of in a certain way," Barnhorst said. "Hall County has offered to waive the fees for (processing) those items at the landfill."

Barnhorst said there will still be an annual Shore Sweep next September, and she’s not sure how long the "super" sweep will last.

"We want to see how this goes and what kind of response we get," she said.

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