Dump cleanup near Brandon completed
The Derrick, 10/29/01 By PAUL FREDERICK

A special thank you goes out to The Derrick for allowing this article to be posted

Photo by Paul Frederick - Volunteers from several area organizations planted trees at a former dump site near Brandon. Pictured are Roy Datz, Tracey Miller, Clair and Karen Counselman and Jim Holden.

BRANDON - One of Venango County's ugliest illegal dumps has been cleaned up. And this past Saturday, a group of volunteers from a variety of environmental organizations put the finishing touches on the cleanup by planting trees on the site.

The dump, located on a steep hillside on the road leading to Brandon, has been existence for more than 80 years, said Karen Counselman, one of the volunteers. More than 300 tons of garbage, 100 discarded tires, even a few discarded appliances, were removed during the cleanup, which began in July and took three months to complete. Workmen from Gary Wood Trucking and Excavating of Polk did most of the trash removal work.

A Growing Greener grant of $139,900 was obtained by the Venango Museum of Science and Industry to perform this work.

The Allegheny River Support Group, the Venango County chapter of Pennsylvania Cleanways, the Allegheny Valley Trails Association and the Allegheny National Forest all provided volunteers for Saturday's tree planting, which was performed, for the most part, in a snowstorm.

Volunteers planted 200 potted trees on the dump site and on the steep hillside above it. These trees were supplied by PA Cleanways, a statewide program aimed at eliminating illegal dumping and littering. PA Cleanways provides 4,000 tree seedlings annually for planting on public lands in Pennsylvania. In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation provided 85 tons of fill dirt.

"The cooperative nature of this project must be emphasized," said Jim Holden of the Allegheny Valley Trails Association. "Here we have five separate organizations all working together to improve the environment here in Venango County."

By planting trees, soil erosion will be reduced and the visual appearance of the area will be improved, he said.

By cleaning up the dump, these volunteers also eliminated a source of pollutants, which ran into the Allegheny River only a short distance away. Also, rainwater that gathered in the discarded tires was a source of the mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus, Holden added.

A wall of dirt and stone will be erected later to discourage further dumping.

"When the trees get bigger, they too will discourage further dumping," Holden said.