It is the urban character of the South River and its tributaries that makes frequent organized cleanups necessary. The biggest culprit is trash-laden stormwater runoff. During periods of heavy rain, trash and debris from streets, parking lots, bus stops, and other surfaces wash into storm drains that flow into creeks and streams and ultimately the South River. Illegally dumped tires are another serious source of pollution that spoils the river’s beauty. Worn out or spent tires destined for recycling facilities end up in the river primarily because the state of Georgia does little to regulate the source (pick up) to disposal (drop off) process.
Regular community-led clean ups to remove trash and tires are held throughout the year to help rid the river of this unsightly litter that diminishes its beauty and endangers wildlife. Since 2010, SRWA, with the help of volunteers from the community, Georgia Adopt-a-Stream, EPA, Georgia Aquarium and others have removed more than 300 tires and more than 125 large garbage bags of trash from the river. In addition to improving the health of the river, clean up events are excellent ways for people to connect with the river, see firsthand the impact they have, and make a positive contribution to addressing the problem.