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Loads of rubbish

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry A volunteer uses the Allegheny River Clean-up’s chop saw to cut a hot water tank into manageable pieces during a pre-clean-up event Thursday along Conewango Creek on State Game Lands 282.

The annual Allegheny River Clean-up is on its way and the pre-clean-up is out of the way.

To kick off the festivities, a group of people got together Thursday for a day of hard work and camaraderie to knock down a problem area.

About 10 people, representing the Pennsylvania Game Commission food and cover crew, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, U.S. Forest Service, Warren County Conservation District, and concerned citizens, met at Conewango Creek near the New York state line.

An old farm dump not far from the creek on State Game Lands 282 was the target. The problem had been identified by clean-up volunteers during a previous event.

There were a number of big-ticket items — a 1950s Chevy truck with dual rear wheels, a couple refrigerators and hot water tanks, a box spring, drums from washing machines — and numerous smaller items including tires, paint cans, and unidentifiable rusted metal.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Volunteers launch a U.S. Forest Service boat filled with refuse from an old farm dump Thursday. The material was carried from State Game Lands 282, across Conewango Creek, and hauled away.

The goal of the morning group was to prepare for the arrival of a larger group in the late afternoon.

A capstan winch system, with an engine, ropes, and pulleys, was used to move the largest pieces and to haul items out of the sucking mud.

Using the clean-up’s chop saw, the truck, refrigerators, and water tanks were cut into manageable pieces.

There were a lot of touches on each piece of refuse.

Everything was piled along the creek bank.

The workers loaded items into a U.S. Forest Service boat which — over numerous trips — carried it all across the creek. Workers unloaded everything onto pallets that were hauled away one at a time by the landowner at Bootjack Farm driving a tractor.

He drove the pallets to a trailer that didn’t have the ground clearance to get to the creek. Workers then took all the material off the pallets and loaded it on the trailer.

This year, the river clean-up will include four days — Sept. 9, 10, 13, and 14 — and work about 30 miles of the river from Warren to West Hickory.

A fifth day — Saturday, Sept. 7 — will be spent on the Conewango.

River clean-up volunteers are asked to register at alleghenyrivercleanup.com by Friday, Aug. 30.

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