Dumpsite Cleanups

Dumpsite Cleanups

For generations, people have used hollows, old mine entrances, and the banks of streams to dump waste. The most common items found at dumpsites are tires, large pieces of furniture and appliances, glass and plastic. These items are found most often because they are difficult to dispose of properly – it costs money or they cannot be burned.

So far, we’ve mapped over 100 illegal dumpsites in surrounding counties. We’ve only included dumpsites in the Monday and Sunday Watershed, which includes portions of Morgan, Perry, Athens, and Hocking County. This alone is an indication that illegal dumping is a significant problem in Southeast Ohio.

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Rural Action Americorp Member, Tyler, at a Sunday Creek Cleanup in November 2013.

The Athens-Hocking Zero Waste Action Plan, completed in December of 2013, includes steps to address illegal dumping and burning, including increasing the number of cleanups taking place in the counties.

The Rural Action Zero Waste Program organizes volunteer days to rid the sites of dumped waste by offering the opportunity for area residents to participate in cleanups and help make a positive change in their communities.

Funding for cleanups comes from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and other partners such as Wayne National Forest, township trustees, county engineers, health departments and other Keep Southeast Ohio Beautiful Partners.

Why does this matter?

Needless to say, these dumpsites causes environmental health hazards from threats to wetland and forest habitat to groundwater contamination. Dumpsites can also hurt property value and with broken glass and sharp metal objects, they are also very dangerous. Cleanups of these sites improve the beauty as well as the safety of our outdoors.

Equipment Rental 

Rural action owns a Cleanup and Beautification Trailer which includes the equipment necessary for litter and dumpsite cleanups such as

  • Shovels
  • Rakes
  • Gloves
  • Safety Signs
  • Vests
  • Leaf Blowers
  • Bags
  • Trash and Recycling Containers
    ribbon cutting 4.13.14

    The ribbon cutting ceremony for the Trailer at Athens Beautification Day, April 2014.

Our trailer is available for loan to Keep Southeast Ohio Beautiful partners in 13 counties in Southeast Ohio. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency provided the funding for the trailer.

Read more about the trailer

How can you get involved?

Rural Action is happy to organize cleanups, provided they are located in Athens, Hocking, Perry, Morgan, Meigs, Washington or Vinton Counties. We’re also happy to share best practices or loan you tools.

We are actively working to expand our map of dumpsites to clean up! If you have knowledge of a dumpsite or would like to become involved as a volunteer, contact us at zerowaste@ruralaction.org.

Past Cleanups

Since 2011, Rural Action has organized dumpsite cleanups in Athens and its surrounding counties. Here are some recent stats:


  • Number of Volunteers: 240
  • Number of Hours Volunteered: 974
  • Bags of Trash Collected: 695
  • Bags of Recyclables Collected: 36
  • Number of Tires Collected: 1,433


  • Number of Volunteers: 132
  • Number of Hours Volunteered: 349.75
  • Bags of Trash Collected: 400
  • Bags of Recyclables Collected: 2
  • Number of Tires Collected: 125


  • Number of Volunteers: 129
  • Number of Hours Volunteered: 435.25
  • Bags of Trash Collected: 274
  • Bags of Recyclables Collected: 4
  • Number of Tires Collected: 209

Other items found throughout the years: televisions, couches, a toilet, washing machines and even an old picnic table that we were able to retrieve and reuse!


A group of volunteers at a cleanup on Iron Road, March 2013.

Here is what a few cleanup volunteers had to say about the experience!

“I remember looking at all the trash and clutter when we first got to the forest and just thinking to myself that we were never going to make a dent in it, not with the amount of people and time that we had. But seeing just how much of a difference we actually made was a very fulfilling experience.” – Tina Mckee, Trimble High School student and cleanup volunteer

“Working with the AOZWI has opened my eyes. I can’t look at anything the same anymore.” – Joe Steinbrecher, Rural Action AmeriCorps Alumnus