Sunday, February 17, 2008

The weight of the problem: Concrete and cinder block construction debris

(Mending the Mississippi: A Site 3 Project.) At first, I was amazed at the amount of cinder block, scrap iron and other construction materiel that has been discarded on the banks of the Mississippi in this area. But I suppose I should not have been surprised at all; these types of debris are extremely heavy; with the price of trash disposal often set on a “cost per pound” basis, wrongful dumpers might see this option as "cost savings." Too bad it's the Mississippi which ends up paying that cost... especially when cinder blocks are recycleable.

The Google Map at the bottom of this posting demonstrates where the concrete-laden construction debris is located, specifically, along this stretch of the Mississippi, at least to the extent that I have mapped it so far. (You can click on the link just below the map to enlarge it.) And as I’ve explained in a previous posting, after enlarging the map it becomes possible to view the area in Google Earth, thus allowing the waypoints on this route to be transferred to your handheld GPS with just a few drag & drop maneuvers. If you decide to tackle one of these sites, please let me know. But as you can see from the pictures, it’s going to be hard work.

There are three total targets in this category. As always, note that you can click on each photo to enlarge it, and that the GPS coordinates of each photo have been embedded in the picture, placing you within roughly three meters of where the debris field is sitting. In some cases, this more than one picture of a site. That is so the reader can better grasp the size or location of the object or debris area.

The sites in this category are perfect examples of material that would be too large or heavy for one or two people to lift extract. So, they are the kind of projects that will lead me to try recruit help.

During my kayak survey work last fall, I paddled past a company known as Marshall Blocks. One of the debris fields I discovered was directly behind their plant on the east side of the river. Some of the material in that field was cinderblock, presumably from vandals goofing off behind this factory, and throwing around some of Marshall’s inventory. But perhaps if I volunteered to personally clean-up the non-concrete trash, maybe they would help recover the blocks (in this site, and who knows, maybe even across the river at the two other other concrete debris sites).

Concrete and iron exemplify the types of materials which a simple pedestrian clean-up effort simply will not solve. That's what makes these materials hold their place on this “categorical list” of debris targets that we publish at CleanUpTheRiver as well as

NOTE: Anyone who attempts to recover the items listed in this posting does so at their own risk. Please adhere to the safety instructions and guidelines provided by the DNR. Also, please let me know if you either intend to remove one or more of these items, or that you have succeeded in doing so. Just drop me an email, so I can post your success story here!
The Google Map of construction debris along this stretch of the Metro Mississippi:

View Larger Map
© 2008 Mike D. Anderson, Crystal, MN.

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