Clean Sweep TC helps others beat the heat with free water, ice barrels

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — As temperatures continue to rise, it’s even more important to stay hydrated. One local group is making sure everyone, including houseless people, has access to cold, drinkable water.

Members with Clean Sweep Tri-Cities started their new hydration initiative on Monday, June 21st, filling up three 55 gallon barrels with bags of ice and individual water bottles.

There are two barrels in Pasco: one at Peanuts Park and one at Schlagel Park by the marina. The third is in Kennewick at Keewaydin Park.

Mark McKee, the founder of the organization, said the barrels are strategically placed in areas where there isn’t access to public water.

“It’s awesome to see our community’s so strong,” McKee said. “They’re all placed next to trash cans so as people drink the water bottle, hopefully, they’ll dispose of the bottle in the trash. That’s the goal.”

McKee said there are multiple volunteers who check on each barrel and refill them throughout the day.

“We need water to get through this time so it’s there, it’s available, it’s free, anybody is welcome to it,” McKee said.

Mark’s mother, Lynne, said this is to “help the folks out there who aren’t blessed with shelter or water.”

“Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of death in the summer especially for people who are on the street,” McKee said.

Even with the intense heat, McKee added that the “extreme need” for water happens in the summer regardless of temperature.

“Whether it’s only 85 or 90 degrees, it’s still hot and they still need water,” McKee said. “You can live without food for a certain length of time but you can’t live without water and in these triple-digits, it’s just going to zap the water right out of a person.”

All of the water and barrel supplies are donated by members of the community. McKee said it’s a wonderful reminder of how giving people can be.

“It’s a fantastic feeling to be able to help someone and to let them know they’re not forgotten about and that people out there do care,” McKee said.

If you want to donate bags of ice, large barrels, or water bottles, you can message Clean Sweep Tri-Cities on Facebook or text Mark at 509-851-1591.