Linthicum residents take action about dumping near Patapsco Cleanup planned for next month NORTH COUNTY/Linthicum * Ferndale * Brooklyn Park * Pumphrey


A story in Monday's Anne Arundel edition should have said that a cleanup of River Road in Linthicum is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21. Anyone interested in volunteering should call Kelli Punte at 859-0344.

The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

Kelli Punte no longer feels safe taking her children to Patapsco State Park or letting her black Labrador swim in the ponds near her home.

The Linthicum resident says she's disgusted by what has become a dumping ground along River Road, which runs along the Patapsco River. She and her sister-in-law have become so fed up, in fact, that they've vowed to clean it up themselves.

"We thought we might as well do it, for my children's sake and the animals' sake," Mrs. Punte said. "We travel that road every single day, and it was getting bad. People just don't care."

They face no easy task. The two-lane, wooded road is littered with dozens of discarded tires and piles of trash. A closer look down the steep banks leading to one pond reveals mountains of old couches and armchairs, rolls of carpet, a baby's stroller, a barbecue grill, rusted appliances, even a toilet.

Mrs. Punte has seen junked cars down there and counted eight dishwashers or washers and dryers.

She and her sister-in-law, Pamela Haley, whose family lives with Mrs. Punte's, have recruited help from the Bank and Boat Bassmasters, a Ferndale bass sportfishing club, along with Patapsco park rangers, the state Department of Natural Resources, Boy Scout Troop 447 and Save Our Streams.

Following guidelines set by Save Our Streams, the two women have organized a Nov. 27 cleanup of the two-mile road. Tauber's Towing of Linthicum has donated an off-road recovery tow-truck. And state Department of Natural Resources trucks will haul appliances to the county's Glen Burnie landfill.

But Mrs. Punte says they still need volunteers, as well as anyone who can donate trash bags, work gloves or refreshments.

Tom Plitt, the Bassmasters' environmental liaison, said most of his club's 22 members will lend a hand. With illegal dumping all too common, the club has had several years of experience cleaning up similar sites, Mr. Plitt said.

Once a year, the club clears debris from a section of Sawmill Creek that runs through Friendship Park. No matter how many refrigerators and car parts club members haul away, more accumulate by the time they return.

Besides being an eyesore, the trash damages the river, causing metals, chemicals and oils to seep into the water. Because of such pollution, the fishing isn't what it used to be, he said, recalling days at Patapsco ponds when he could catch fish all day. These days, he considers two fish a day a good yield.

Mr. Plitt said he's especially disturbed by people hauling junk themselves and dumping it by the side of the road, when the county has special bulk trash collections.

Jonathan Pearson, the community organizer for Save Our Streams in Glen Burnie, praised the group's efforts.

"They're really doing what we like to see," said Mr. Pearson, who gets community groups to help protect and restore local neighborhood streams. "If only 10 to 15 people went, they won't be able to tackle it. If you can get the volunteers out there, you can accomplish an incredible amount in one afternoon."

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