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July storm damage estimate in excess of $200K for Elizabeth Township

| Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 3:26 a.m.

Elizabeth Township Sanitary Authority maintenance supervisor Dennis Kimberly used an understatement to sum up the month of July at a regular authority meeting.

“We had a little bit of rain,” said Kimberly, who went on to produce dozens of photos that showed the effect rain and its related flooding had on the sanitation system. Fallen trees, clogged creeks and manholes and exposed water lines were featured in many of the pictures.

Kimberly said significant damage included a washed-out manhole in Wylie Run and an exposed sewer line and trees covering manholes over a hillside behind the Divine Redeemer Motherhouse along Rock Run Road.

Crews had to dig out the Boston pumping station from mud and debris because of flooding along Boston Hollow Run and trees fell on the Wylie pumping station during the heavy rains.

Among the photos was one of Kimberly rescuing a woman who was trapped in her minivan in a flooded area along Happy Hollow Road in the first round of the July 10 storms.

The woman got out safely, Kimberly said, “But her car was ruined.”

The authority does not have a solid dollar figure on damages from the July 10 storms and subsequent downpours a week later but chairman Richard Mathews said the cost is expected to be in excess of $200,000.

To repair the damaged system, Mathews said, “Our crews worked around the clock.” He said the authority hired a contractor to help make some of the repairs.

In other news, authority consultant and former authority chairman Bob Similo said he will work without pay until January. He was hired by the authority at a rate of $75 per hour earlier this year after township commissioners failed to reappoint him to the board when his term ended.

Commissioners voted in April to dissolve the authority. An Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas judge has ordered the termination of the authority must be complete by Oct. 24, with the township assuming all authority debt and responsibilities by that time.

Similo, referring to the dissolution of the authority and legal issues stemming from it, said he agreed to work without pay because “We don't want to have any issues.”

Township Solicitor Thomas Barry said of the pay stoppage, “It saves us some money and (Similo) wants to do it.”

Similo's contract with the authority expires at the end of 2015.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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