In 1999, an informal coalition of volunteer groups and government bodies agreed to do something about illegal garbage and tire dumps in the valleys of the Raccoon Creek Watershed. The dumps were eyesores, gave a bad impression to visitors and residents of the various communities, and were magnets for more illegal dumping.
The cleanup partners - composed of the Townships of Greene, Potter and Raccoon, the Raccoon Creek Watershed Association (joined with Independence Conservancy in 2014), PA CleanWays of Beaver County (now Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful), Beaver County Department of Waste Management, and the Independence Marsh Foundation (now Independence Conservancy) identified and prioritized several highly visible dumpsites located along public roads. Many targeted sites contained a share of the over 100,000 tires which had been collected from tire shops and illegally dumped into remote areas of the Raccoon Creek Watershed in the late 1980's and early 1990's.
One cleanup campaign was conducted in Potter Township on Pleasant Drive; another on Moffet Mill Road in Raccoon Township; one in Raccoon Creek State Park; and another in Smith Township near Burgettstown.
Pole Cat Hollow Cleanup
The Pole Cat Hollow Cleanup was the largest tire and rubbish dump cleanup conducted in or near the Raccoon Creek Watershed by the informal partnership. Over six thousand fugitive tires were removed and properly disposed from this site alone. The Pole Cat Hollow illegal dump cleanup enhanced abandoned mine reclamation efforts farther downstream at the former Pegg's Run Coal Company. Over $200,000 in Growing Greener grant funds were well spent toward restoring the Pegg's Run Watershed, a part of the greater 20-D Raccoon Creek Sub-basin.
Kennedy Hill Cleanup
The Kennedy Hill dump site in Greene Township contained over 3000 fugitive tires and 175 tons of household refuse. Corporate grants paid to remove all of the tires and much of the trash, which spoiled an otherwise beautiful oak and maple forest. Restoration began in 2006, but funding was exhausted by the end of 2007. Several tons of rubbish and small debris remain.
The various Raccoon Creek Cleanups have removed 22,000 fugitive tires, removed 300 tons of illegally dumped residential garbage, re-vegetated the former dumpsites with native plant species to enhance wildlife habitat and scenic beauty, improved water quality in the Raccoon Creek Watershed by eliminating seepage from these dumps, reduced likelihood of West Nile Virus by removing mosquito-breeding habitat, improved property values and quality of life for neighborhood residents by eliminating fire, safety and health hazards, provided volunteer opportunities for local residents to participate in the cleanups, to monitor the sites after completion, and to deter future dumping.