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Bridgeville council getting serious about flood control

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Wheels have started turning at both the local and federal levels to strengthen flood-control measures for communities within the Chartiers Creek Watershed, including Bridgeville.

The borough council voted Oct. 13 to request that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begin a flood-reduction study on the Chartiers Creek Watershed. According to borough manager Lori Collins, the idea began at a September meeting in McDonald with other flood-hit municipalities, the Army Corps of Engineers, and local and state representatives.

“We wanted to have a conversation regarding how communities can move forward together and have the Army Corps of Engineers take a look at the tributaries of the Chartiers Creek,” Collins said.

The area surrounding McLaughlin Run — which breaks from Chartiers Creek and runs along Commercial Street, under Bower Hill Road and along Baldwin Street — caused devastating flooding in July when more than 2 inches of rain fell on the area in 24 hours.

“It has to be a multimunicipality, large-scale project,” Collins said. “It has to address all the tributaries that are having issues.”

The letter, which council voted unanimously to send, will ask the corps to focus on the Chartiers Creek tributaries of Robinson Run, McLaughlin Run, Millers Run, Painters Run and Campbells Run. It would ask them to move forward with a feasibility study.

In an additional move of support, Congressman Tim Murphy (R-Upper Saint Clair) has authored an amendment to a water conservation bill that would support the efforts of Bridgeville and other communities in securing work from the Corps.

The amendment to House Bill 3080 – the Water Resources Reform and Development Act – would reauthorize flood-control measures for flood-prone areas in Bridgeville, Carnegie, Oakdale, McDonald and other communities in the Chartiers Creek Watershed.

“My goal was to bring it to their attention right away,” Murphy said. “Indeed, it has been sparking conversations about the need to work on this.”

The main bill passed the state House Wednesday with a 417-3 vote and now moves to the Senate.

Originally authorized to do so in the 1950s and 60s, the Army Corps of Engineers undertook flood-control projects near Canonsburg and Carnegie, though Murphy said the existing construction cannot control floodwaters from the Chartiers Creek tributaries — like McLaughlin. The amendment will allow for continued work on Campbells Run in Carnegie, which caused widespread flooding during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

The amendment authorizes to the Corps only to move forward with a feasibility study, he said. Any funding for subsequent flood-prevention work would have to be secured from state and local government.

“We can't move forward with other repairs until we know what needs to be done,” Murphy said.

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

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