^pBy KENDRA MAHON
For The Williamson Daily News
WILLIAMSON —The City of Williamson and Mingo County have been selected to participate in a state-funded program on Sept. 26, 28 and 30 as volunteers will be needed to help pull tires from the river.
The volunteers will remove the tires from the designated location behind Williamson K-8. The tires will be loaded onto jon boats, taken to the shore, then transferred to trucks, where they will be hauled to an official dump site.
John Burchett, project coordinator, addressed the Williamson city council during the Sept. 12 meeting. Burchett is encouraging local residents, groups and organizations to “come out on all of those days, one of those days or two of the days” between the hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Burchett said this project is a free service to the area, and the state provides the equipment and equipment operators.
“We need volunteers, if we have a good turnout for the event, the state will be back time and time again,” Burchett said.
Contractors with the State of West Virginia will arrive Thursday morning to launch their amphibious vehicle in the river from the boat ramp in South Williamson, Ky. From there, the equipment will go up river to the starting point for volunteers, who will meet outside the floodwall at the Williamson K-8.
Information obtained from the department’s website states that since 2005, the Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan has strived to clean up West Virginia and rid the state of unsightly litter.
The REAP next generation initiative harbors all of the state cleanup programs within the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
REAP focuses on cleanup efforts from both program staff and volunteers statewide.
In a partnership, the program empowers citizens to take ownership of their communities by providing technical, financial and resource assistance in cleanup efforts.
The program derives its authority from the A. James Manchin Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan, pursuant to WV State Code §22-15A
Each year, REAP’s PPOD Program conducts tire collection events across the state. At least one collection event is held in each county. During these events, individuals with proof of West Virginia residency can dispose of 10 tires in a safe way.
PPOD is also responsible for the removal of tire piles located across the state. So far during 2019, more than 400,000 tires have been collected and/or removed from West Virginia’s landscape.
“Part of the future of this town is tourism,” Burchett said. “We have the Hatfield McCoy Trail System, this river is the next ride at the amusement park. We need to clean it up and have some fun with it.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can obtain more information by going to the Tug River Tire Tug of War Facebook page.