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Lend a cleaning hand to the Chattahoochee during 2022 Sweep the Hooch
Meredith Wood, 20, a student at Georgia Tech, picks up a plastic bottle during Sweep the Hooch at Lake Lanier Olympic Park on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The event is put on by Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. - photo by Austin Steele

By Bowen Corley, DCN regional staff 

The Southeast’s largest volunteer river cleanup is back for its 12th year. Led by Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Sweep the Hooch is a day of service in which more than 1,000 volunteers come together to keep the Chattahoochee litter-free while protecting wildlife and public health.

According to the organization, last year's cleanup consisted of over 1,200 volunteers that collected 35 tons of trash, about two tons of which were recycled.

This year’s sweep is jointly presented by the National Park Service’s Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, which will host 18 of the 50-plus cleanup sites.

From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 26, volunteers will take to parks, tributaries and access points across the watershed, where they’ll walk, wade or paddle to collect trash.

Wading and paddling volunteers will need to provide their own waders, kayak, canoe or paddleboard. All other equipment needed for trash pickup will be provided by Chattahoochee Riverkeeper along with a free T-shirt and one-year membership to the organization.

Registration is open now at

Spots are limited, and volunteers are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible.

“Sweep the Hooch is an opportunity to all work together for an extremely worthy cause,” said Tammy Bates, Chatthoochee Riverkeeper’s outings director. “It’s not just about picking up litter, it’s about taking a stand for the health of our communities, along with the animals and natural beauty that depend on the Chattahoochee flowing free and clean.”

This article was originally published in the Gainesville Times, a sister publication of the Dawson County News.