In the Media - Volunteers extracting Mill Creek behemoth
Volunteers extracting Mill Creek behemoth
Kelly McBride, firstname.lastname@example.org 11 a.m. EDT May 29, 2014
Mike Reifenberger, Bernie Moller and Jeff Agricola load a section of corroded steel for disposal. (Photo: Kelly McBride/The Community Press)
- Boiler estimated to weigh 4 tons
- Crews dismember ‘Leviathan’
A section of the Mill Creek is nearly free of a behemoth boiler that has sat in the water for decades.
Dubbed the Mill Creek Leviathan, several members of the Mill Creek Yacht Club have been sawing, hammering, pulling and loading pieces of rusted metal removed from the industrial boiler, where it settled in Reading, near Koenig Park.
With the help of the Public Works Department in Reading, where the boiler is located, two backhoes dragged the machine to the creek bank, where it was secured to a tree before the dismemberment began.
Bruce Koehler, commodore of the Mill Creek Yacht Club, has come upon the massive chunk of steel every year for the past 20, when the group conducts a cleanup by canoe.
“I got used to ignoring it because it was too big to get it out,” Koehler said.
Fellow Yacht Club members Jeff Agricola and Mike Reifenberger put a plan into action, and with the help of Koehler and club member Bernie Moller, the tools came out and the four men got to work.
“We’re taking on this monstrosity,” Koehler said of the dismembering, which began on Tuesday, when the crew removed about a third of the boiler in chunks of steel totaling about 1,120 pounds.
“This is the biggest thing the Mill Creek Yacht Club has ever pulled out of a stream,” Reifenberger said.
Sharonville Planning Director Richard Osgood, who is also chairman of the Mill Creek board of trustees, is working with local businesses along the Mill Creek, to update them on activities in the upper watershed related to water quality improvement, flood risk reduction, recreation, economic development and general quality of life.
“The Mill Creek is a natural asset that extends beyond jurisdictional boundaries,” Osgood said of the Reading extraction. “Both upstream and downstream improvements benefit the residents and businesses in the city of Sharonville.
“The ‘Leviathan Extraction’ project by Bruce Koehler and his volunteer group benefits all interests up and down the Mill Creek.”
The four men who participated in the May 27 effort volunteered their time, but all have skills and experience needed for the project: Agricola in construction and as Springdale’s public works director, Reifenberger as a cement mason who worked previous Mill Creek projects, Moller as a biologist, and Koehler as a senior environmental planner for OKI.
The hard work continues this weekend, and again until the machine is reduced to rubble, which will be sold for scrap.
Removing the rusted metal will also help the creek’s water quality.
“Bit by bit, it corrodes and puts heavy metal into the water, which isn’t good for aquatic life,” Koehler said. “Plus, it’s hard to care for the creek if it looks like crap.
“It’s aesthetic, too,” he said. “We’re making it so you can love the Mill Creek again.”
“The message here is that we’re protecting the Mill Creek, and it should be protected,” Jennifer Eismeier, executive director of the Mill Creek Council of Communities, said.
“This crew is devoted,” she said. “They’ve been tending to the Mill Creek for 20 years, and this is another example of their commitment.”