The Waller Creek cleanup, hosted by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), is a biannual event that depends on campus students, faculty and staff volunteers to collect debris and trash from the one-mile stretch of the creek that runs through campus. On Saturday, November 2, volunteers committed their time to cleaning up the segment from Dean Keaton St. to Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Fifteen volunteers collected 221 pounds of trash, including chicken wire and even a syringe. Once the debris and trash were collected and bagged, Landscape Services picked up the bags to dispose of the waste.
In past years, volunteers have found some unusual items. Earlier this year, a wedding dress (still on a hanger) and a mattress were included in the debris.
“The creek cleanups provide an important opportunity for the campus community to serve our environment by removing trash and debris that threaten our receiving waters and the plant and animal life they support,” said Tejashri Kyle, EHS environmental program manager.
The volunteering opportunity offers a way for students and organizations to complete needed service hours. Volunteers receive a t-shirt and breakfast tacos. Currently, EHS is working to organize monthly student-oriented cleanups. The next Waller Creek cleanup will take place in the spring of 2020. The signup will be posted on the EHS website.
This cleanup event is part of the outreach agreement to obtain and renew the university’s stormwater permit acquired through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. EHS uses the data from the cleanup in an annual report that fulfills guidelines needed for the permit renewal, which is required every five years. Stormwater permits help identify and track sources of pollution and prevent pollutants from entering stormwater runoff, which can have detrimental effects on the environment.