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One year later, Bridgeville residents still nervous about flood possibilities

Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

One year after drenching rains caused heavy flooding in Bridgeville and the surrounding communities, John Palluch is still a little gun-shy when it comes to rain.

“I don't trust it,” he said, gesturing to McLaughlin Run Creek, which spilled more than three feet of water into Baldwin Street residence where he rents an apartment. “I keep everything upstairs now.”

A dirt debris line on the gas meter outside the house acts as a stark reminder of just how high the waters rose, he said.

Strong rains on July 10, 2013, sent the creek over its banks and into the streets — and into the basements of nearby homes and businesses. Three inches of rain fell in two hours in Bridgeville, Oakdale and many South Hills communities, according to the National Weather Service. The already-saturated ground caused rain to pool and creeks to swell.

Bridgeville and other communities in the Chartiers Creek Watershed in October sent a request to the Army Corps of Engineers to do a flood-reduction study on the watershed, specifically Chartiers Creek tributaries Robinson Run, McLaughlin Run, Millers Run, Painters Run and Campbells Run.

John Peukert, chief of planning at the Corps, said the Corps was able to secure some federal funding to do an initial assessment of the area.

Peurkert said that so far, engineers have done a preliminary drive-through of the area along with some historical research regarding flood issues.

“All of this will culminate in our initial assessment,” he said. “Then the federal government decides whether it is interested in pursuing the study further or not.”

Ray Skundirch, president of M&M Uniforms on Railroad Street, said the July 10 rains brought several inches of water into his basement tailor shop. He said it's up to the borough's public works department to keep McLaughlin Run free of debris that might back up the waterway.

“There's not a lot we can do,” he said. “We're at the mercy of those in charge.”

The public works did not return a call seeking comment.

Palluch isn't willing to take that chance.

“It happened before. It can happen again,” he said.

He said he is looking to move out of the flood zone.

Tony Sikorski, who keeps a garage for storage on Baldwin Street, is optimistic that the flooding days are over.

“I feel like that's a once- or twice-in-a-lifetime thing,” he said.

Sikorski, a sculptor, said that about three feet of water poured into the garage that morning. After he and his wife cleaned up, he said, he decided to renovate it.

“(The flood) made me do something I kept putting off,” he said. “It took about two months to clean up. It's going good now.”

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

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