Officials tour flood-damaged Elizabeth
State and federal officials visited a flood-damaged section of Elizabeth on Friday, while residents who live in the affected area around Irwin Street continued their recovery efforts.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, state Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Elizabeth Township, and officials from the Army Corps of Engineers visited flood-damaged areas and reviewed the community's cleanup efforts. But it still remains a question whether the borough will be eligible for federal or state emergency funds.
Saccone said initial estimates put damages at about $200,000, but he believes the price tag for rebuilding the community along Fallen Timber Run could run closer to $500,000.
In addition to rebuilding Irwin Street, which was partially washed away by a small creek that feeds into Fallen Timber Run, the community needs to find a permanent solution to runoff problems in the flood- prone area.
One potential solution the officials discussed is building a retention pond to slow runoff from Elizabeth Township's Oak Hill neighborhood, which is above the flooded area. It is unclear how such a project would be funded.
Saccone said he plans to contact the state Department of Environmental Protection to inquire if it can help pay for flood control measures that would include the clearing of the debris-clogged waterways.
Murphy said the community by itself would not likely qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding, which has a damage threshold level of about $17 million, but might qualify for funds once other flood-damaged communities are considered.
Officials all stressed that residents affected by Wednesday's storms should contact their local municipal government to report damages to better improve the region's chance of qualifying for FEMA money.
Elizabeth officials were concerned about what they could do in the short term to reduce flooding.
T.J. Fichera of the Army Corps of Engineers said borough workers could remove logs, tires and other debris that is clogging the streams, provided they do so without using heavy equipment within the stream bed.
That will present a challenge in some hard-to-reach sections of the stream.
Fichera said environmental permits would be required to operate heavy equipment in the stream or clear areas of the stream bed where silt has been deposited.
Elizabeth council president Monica Glowinski said she was encouraged by the state and federal officials' visit but discouraged that there appears to be no immediate funding resources available to address the borough's problems.
Long-term fixes are something the borough would do “if we had a rainy day fund,” Glowinski said. “But we don't have a rainy day fund.”
Glowinski said the estimated cost of the flooding is continuing to rise. Initially, repairs to Irwin Street were expected to be around $25,000. By Friday, the cost estimates had risen to $40,000.
The council president said the borough will look at closing nearby Cemetery Street, which was damaged by the flooding. She said the road, which connects to Elizabeth Township, was already in bad condition and now is worse.
Electricity had been restored to homes in the area by Friday but pump hoses still stretched out of some basements.
Resident Paul Battle told the visiting officials that the situation was bad on Wednesday.
“It was like Ohiopyle,” he said.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Phyllis Wheatley Literary Society honors black officers at annual Law Enforcers Salute
- Lessons at Legion give learners tools to swing onto dance floor
- County shuts down Clairton demolition work
- Paving, electronics upgrades evident at Steel Valley
- Mon Valley steelworkers rally for new contract
- Grant will benefit Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin