White Township officials seek help for stream cleanup
July 30, 2013 10:50 AM

In an effort to reduce flooding during heavy rain, a group of White Township officials, environmental organizations and residents will gather this weekend to clear debris from streams near the Indiana Mall, and they’re looking for volunteers to help.

“Due to the flooding issues last summer, we (wanted) to try to address some of the debris that seemed to be plugging the streams, so we picked a couple areas that we felt would have the biggest impact,” said township manager Milt Lady. “We just felt it was a good gesture to the community to get those groups involved and for us to help.”

The streams run through private property and so are the responsibility of the homeowners, but Lady said it’s a big enough job that the township wanted to help. Evergreen Conservancy and the Indiana County Pennsylvania Senior Environmental Corps are also participating.

They are off Hickory Lane, Mill Run and Shelley Drive.

Lady said the township has received permission from the property owners to work on the streams, and that they need volunteers to pull debris such as rocks, logs and trash out of the streams and carry it to the street, where the township’s trucks will collect it and take it either to a landfill or to the recycling center.

Volunteers should wear gloves and clothing and shoes that can get wet, and bring tools such as handsaws, shovels or loppers if they have them. They’ll be meeting at the overflow parking area at the Indiana Mall, and will be working from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday (with rain dates the following weekend).

But Lady said there’s a secondary goal to the weekend: They hope to educate homeowners about their responsibilities toward the streams that cut through their property.

“I think we’re trying to make them aware that it really is private property,” he said. “It’s their property; they’re really responsible.”

Lady said he’s happy to help this time around, but that he hopes property owners will keep their streams maintained.

Kelly Cossey, of the Evergreen Conservancy, said the cleanup effort is a way to bring awareness to ways to reduce flooding issues.

“If we get people in the area involved and educate them about (clearing streams), I think we can have a good chance of reducing those issues,” she said. “It’s not just a one-weekend effort. It’s going to take some changes on the part of residents in the area.”

As for this weekend, volunteers of all ages are welcome, Lady said.

“If we get a good turn out, we’ll look at doing this again, because there are other streams that need done,” he said.

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