Fortified waterway keeps Carnegie dry

Megan Guza
| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Carnegie Borough remained relatively protected during last week's heavy rains, which brought floodwaters into homes, businesses and roadways throughout Bridgeville, Collier, Scott and South Fayette.

“We had no widespread flooding of the creek or streams in Carnegie,” Mayor Jack Kobistek said after heavy rains pushed some area waterways over their banks on July 10.

However, due to the ground being saturated, some streets and basements flooded because of storm-water runoff issues, he said.

The relatively minor issues were a far cry from the floods that hit the borough in 2004. The remnants of Hurricane Ivan blew through the area Sept. 17, 2004, and brought more than five inches of rain. More than 20 people – including recently retired police chief Jeff Harbin – were left stranded on the Mansfield Bridge. Hundreds of homes and much of the borough's business district were destroyed.

Post-Ivan, Congressman Tim Murphy helped the area secure funds and assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge, remove sediment and reconstruct parts of Chartiers Creek, the waterway responsible for the Carnegie flooding, according to interim borough manager Steve Beuter.

The area saw flooding again in 2010, after which the Army Corps of Engineers returned to secure the banks along Campbells Run Road.

“These procedures would help to better contain flow traveling these waterways,” Beuter said.

On top of the help received from the Corps, the Carnegie Public Works Department has also stepped up efforts to prevent such flooding again.

“(The department) routinely maintains the areas surrounding the creeks in order to clear any unwanted debris,” Beuter said. By doing so, the department clears the way for better, less hindered water flow — keeping the water moving rather than rising.

Bridgeville wasn't so fortunate.

The areas of Baldwin and Railroad streets were hardest hit after more than two inches of rain pushed McLaughlin Run over its banks and into businesses and homes.

Bridgeville fire Chief Bill Chilleo said the flooding was on par with that of Ivan in 2004.

Flooding started at about 8 a.m. last Wednesday, and water began receding by about 10 a.m.

More than 10 fire and rescue companies responded to flooding there, where waters from McLaughlin Run spilled into streets and homes. River rescue teams also were on hand and had to help several people out of the rising water.

One woman had to be plucked from the water after she was found clinging to the bumper of a tractor trailer parked near the Beer Warehouse at Railroad and Baldwin streets.

Because so many companies responded, officials did not have a final count on injuries and rescues.

Chilleo said the borough was hit much harder than the department had anticipated based on weather reports.

“We didn't expect it to be this bad,” he said.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or

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