Tons of trash plucked out of creek

Special to the Sun-Gazette

In September of 2011, Tropical Storm Lee caused flooding of a magnitude that could be expected only once every 500 years. Raging waters overflowed streambanks, destroyed buildings, uprooted trees and flushed everything that could be moved downstream.

In places where the waters slowed, debris was deposited, causing the once scenic creek banks to resemble open trash dumps.

After flood debris started finding its way into a favorite swimming hole, Gamble Township resident Joe Musto decided something had to be done. He contacted Clinton County CleanScapes (CCC) and the Loyalsock Creek Watershed Association (LCWA) to organize a cleanup along Butternut Grove Road.

There was so much trash scattered about, it was hard to know where to begin. Tires were everywhere, some so large they could not be moved. Many were embedded in sandy soil and had to be dug or pulled out.

Plastic also was everywhere: tarps, bags, household items. Much of the flood-related debris had to be untangled from downed trees and snags.

With so many partners involved, it took time to get organized, but in late April, 38 volunteers joined forces to remove the land-locked tires and flood-related debris from the stream bank.

The team included members of CCC and the LCWA, college students from Lock Haven University and Pennsylvania College of Technology, members of the Responsible Drilling Alliance and a group of Butternut Grove Road residents who provided not only labor but equipment for digging out and hauling trash.

In about four hours, 4.34 tons, or 8,680 pounds, of trash plus 16.88 tons, or 33,760 pounds, of tires were off the creek bank and stashed in roll-offs to be hauled away.

It was estimated that about 530 tires were removed from 2/10ths of a mile of stream bank.

The project was made possible by funding, discounts and supplies from the following businesses:


Glenn O. Hawbaker,

Wayne Township Landfill and SWA,

  • JCRMS,
  • A-1 Portable Toilets,
  • Creekside Market in Loyalsockville,
  • Weis Market Montoursville,
  • State Department of Transportation District 2,
  • Walker’s Hardware,
  • Lycoming County GIS and
  • Clinton County Community Foundation.