Flooding earlier this year washed tires and other materials into the Zumbro River from the former Oronoco Auto Parts site. State and local governments have been working to clean up the site since then. As part of that effort, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Olmsted County, and Oronoco Township organized a cleanup on October 12 to remove debris from the Zumbro River that came from the former salvage yard. Since flooding in June 2019, residents downstream have raised concerns about gas tanks and other junk washed up on their shoreland.
Despite the raw and windy weather, complete with wind chills and snow showers, residents showed up to haul waste from the river to the collection site. MPCA staffers Jason Hawksford, Jon Gegen, Raj Heck, Chris Green, and Jake Brady volunteered at the collection site by helping to unload the trash being delivered. The Minnesota Four Wheel Drive Association also volunteered to help with pulling debris from the riverbanks and getting it to the collection point.
Altogether, 300 tires and several cubic yards of waste were collected, including an abandoned jet ski and various auto parts. See the KAAL-TV web site to watch coverage of the cleanup.
The MPCA continues its investigation into the former salvage yard for violations of environmental rules, and is working with the property owners on long-term cleanup of the site.