This week, volunteers are following in the footsteps of thousands of students, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who collected trash in an annual effort to clean the lake. With the aid of rental pontoon boats donated by Park Marine, Georgia Power employees retrieve the collected trash and load the garbage into roll-off dumpsters to rid the lake of environmental and safety hazards.
Charles Summey has been working to keep the lake clean since before the Great Lake Allatoona Cleanup officially began, volunteering then with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This week, he will take time away from his job as an electrician with Georgia Power to man the “tire boat,” a vessel dedicated for tire removal — which hauled in about 90 tires before lunch on Tuesday.
“I use this lake, I live 10 minutes from the lake — it’s something we’ve always done and if we didn’t clean this lake, can you imagine how messy it would be,” Summey said. “I’m probably on this lake two or three times a week. In the summertime, we’ll go skiing in the evening and in the winter I fish. It’s just a good thing to do — look at what all we’ve taken off the lake that otherwise would have been there forever. Plus, it can be dangerous if you hit [a tire] with a boat, because some of them will float. They’ll be right under the water where you can’t see them.”
Event organizers praised the annual support from Georgia Power employees. Although the manpower is appreciated, their industrial experience leads to a safe and effective work environment when dealing with a host of potentially dangerous situations during the cleanup process.
“We’ve got to say thanks to Georgia Power Plant Bowen Manager Tim Banks for letting us have these guys,” said GLAC committee member Wayne Biasetti. “We like to keep all the volunteers from Georgia Power because of their safety measures. They complete safety checks and hold safety meetings each morning.”
Georgia Power volunteers will finish their service today; collecting the final boatloads of trash to be hauled off and disposed of far from the shores of Lake Allatoona.