On a map, it's an unnamed tributary, a sliver of rocky creek bed running through the hillside of western
The enforcement officer for the
"I called ahead for this," he said, grinning, eyes matching the sky. "If you had to pay for today, you couldn't afford it."
But not even a month ago, you could fill this bed with soot, silt and tears. Flooding, the worst in more than a decade, washed out its crevices, sending a stream of detritus plummeting downhill.
The rains poured and poured. The clouds in the sky were lumps of coal. In those early hours, more than 100 Milesburg and
Picking up the pieces has been slower than most have hoped. But on Tuesday, a group of seven volunteers pitched in to help. Sweeping "
In total, the group, a coalition of
And that metal won't go to the landfill. Instead, it will be recycled.
"We're doing good work for the environment," Fye said. "Everything we clean up today is not going to end up at the
According to the National Flood Insurance Program, the estimated losses from flooding for an 1,000-square-foot home can reach up to
"It came out my steps, then it made a U-turn and went into my basement along with all the sediment," he said. "It was gravity and a boatload of water."
Upstream, Tom Schivery walked along the run where weeks earlier it had bled over into his garage. The now silent stream had left punctures in its siding. On Tuesday, sunlight, not water, poured through them.
Schivery, 72, has lived here since 1969. He lost a car, three motorcycles and his garage door in the flood. In their place laid a pile of stone and splinter.
"The trees came down, then the rocks came down," he said. "We've been working on it ever since the flooding. It pushed the back of my building in, that's how much water was coming down there."
A 275-gallon fuel tank of his was also swept downstream. The group hopped down and lugged it up the bank. Then they tossed it into the back of a truck, wiped their gloves on their jeans and moved on. Easy.
No machinery needed. Just elbow grease.
"I'm a little independent!" replied Lanning. Together the pair lifted the drum into the truck bed. They laughed afterward.
As the sun swept over the run, Lanning pushed up his cap and brushed sweat from his brow.
"Neighbors help neighbors," Lanning said. "We are passionate conservationists and we knew this stream needed it. This is our skill set that we can bring folks together and get things done in an expeditious way.
"It's a win-win."
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