Utility workers, volunteers give Lake Vermilion a thorough cleaning

Utility workers, volunteers give Lake Vermilion a thorough cleaning

DANVILLE — Dick Reed kicked off his Memorial Day weekend Friday on Lake Vermilion, but he wasn't on the water for fun.

He was cleaning up the place, helping local Aqua Illinois employees and Vermilion County Conservation District workers pull logs, bottles, tires, large barrels and all sorts of debris out of the water.

"It was a very busy year," said Reed, referring to the number of items in the lake, which is a recreation spot as well as Danville's drinking-water supply.

Severe flooding in February along the North Fork River — which flows into Lake Vermilion — likely contributed to the logs, large in size and number, ending up in the lake, said Bob Ervin, area manager with Aqua, which sponsors and coordinates the cleanup each year along with the Vermilion Water Quality Coalition.

It's the 16th year that Aqua workers, volunteers and others have done a cleanup. Crews worked from 8 a.m. until noon pulling out debris in a majority of the lake while conservation district workers and volunteers concentrated on the north end with canoes and smaller boats.

The cleanup was started to enhance the natural beauty and overall cleanliness of one of the county's most vital natural resources, Ervin said.

"And we take that very seriously," he said.

Reed, who lives on the lake, said he enjoys volunteering each year and doing the cleanup work that leaves him with a feeling of accomplishment. His group extracted several barrels and a couple docks that likely broke loose in flooding earlier this year and towed in a large tree.

He said he likes the lake to be clean not only for when he goes boating but also for the public's benefit.

"I just enjoy helping," he said.

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