Divers gather for community cleanup in Brewerton

Three recreational divers head group dive to clean up Oneida River

Almost four years of recreational diving in bodies of water in Onondaga County brewed an idea among three friends who enjoy the hobby. The group's diving made them aware of the large amount of debris and litter that occupies the rivers and lakes in their communities.

The group, Ed Kosakowski of Brewerton, John Kane of Camillus and Bill Elderbroom of Cicero, meets up regularly to dive in such locations as the Oneida River at Riverfront Park in Brewerton. Kosakowski, Kane and Elderbroom are all city of Syracuse firefighters.

With an idea to clean up the waters, Kosakowski said he and his friends were unsure of how to get a community cleanup operation underway.

The official cleanup was hosted with much success Saturday Nov. 21 at the Oneida River at Riverfront Park in Brewerton. There were several groups that pitched in to help with the event: the Cicero Chamber of Commerce, town of Cicero officials, local Boy Scouts, SUNY-ESF students and the National Aquatic Service.

All three divers were certified at the National Aquatic Service located at 1732 E. Erie Blvd. in Syracuse.

With partly sunny skies, light rain and 45 degree air, Kosakowski said the event had a great turnout with 20 divers and several volunteers. The attendants helped fill a garbage dumpster full of debris and trash found near the river and in the depths of the water. Kosakowski said he called town of Cicero Supervisor Chet Dudzinski three weeks ago to get the "green light" and have a dumpster brought to the Saturday dive. Dudzinzki arranged for a town dump truck to be at the dive site to haul away the trash that was collected.

Divers and volunteers stayed at Riverfront Park from 8:30 a.m. while the first dive took place, until about 2 p.m. when the long day came to a close. Some divers spent two hours straight searching for large items like shopping carts and park benches. These large items had been spotted by the Kosakowski, Kane and Elderbroom during their regular dives under the Route 11 Bridge.

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