Trash dumping making Elwha River ‘a mess’

Trash dumped along the Elwha River is raising health and ecological concerns — especially when the river rises and the abandoned cars and other garbage enter the waters.

“It’s a mess out there in some places,” said Mel Elofson, assistant habitat manager for the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe.

Tribal officials say trash being dumped in the river has been a problem for the past five years.

Items found include, abandoned automobiles, appliances, construction materials, engine oil and everyday household trash.

A lot of the trash eventually makes its way into the river during high water flows.

Recently, two submerged automobiles were pulled from the river.

“Engine oil and fuel left in those cars can cause a serious problem in the river,” Elofson said, “a problem that doesn’t just harm fish and wildlife, but also humans.

“A large portion of the trash that is found in or near the river is next to the city of Port Angeles’ water well.”

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