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Residents ask Monroeville for flood relief

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By Kyle Lawson
Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Families on Willow Hedge Drive say they want Monroeville to help them because they've shelled out thousands of dollars over the years and still have to deal with flooding on their street.

“We're here as a last effort to convince the municipality to please take action for the inadequate storm-water system in our neighborhood,” Theresa Petersen told Monroeville officials at last week's council meeting.

Petersen said her backyard and her home have been flooded nearly 10 times over the past 25 years.

Neighbors shared similar stories about flooding that has affected at least five different homes.

Christel Kranick said she came home from vacation last month to find three feet of water in her basement.

“My husband has to leave work every time it rains,” Kranick said. “It's gotten worse in the last five years.”

Based on municipal archives, the subdivision was built and approved by council in the early 1970s.

Homes were constructed before a storm-water management system was required and despite the warning of an engineer at the time who reported the area was prone to flooding, Monroeville Engineeer Paul Hugus said.

“It was the low point (of the neighborhood), and that's where a retention basin was supposed to go,” Hugus said.

Making matters worse, the elevation of Willow Hedge Drive doesn't qualify homeowners for state flood insurance, Petersen said.

Another contributing factor is a storm-water pipe on Logans Ferry Road that someone capped with chicken wire and bricks, Hugus said.

“The water backs up on Logans Ferry Road, and it follows Logans Ferry Road to Willow Hedge,” he said.

Neither the developer nor any municipal officials who approved the development can be held financially responsible for flooding over the years due to the 12-year statute of limitations in Pennsylvania, Solicitor Bruce Dice said.

Hugus said he will draft a plan to present at the Nov. 7 Citizen's night that will include an inspection of storm sewers. Council would have to approve the necessary funding in order to proceed, Hugus said.

“Can it be rectified? Yes, but it's going to cost money to do that,” Hugus said.

Pending a vote from council, a flood mitigation project could be added to the 2014 capital improvement plan, Monroeville Manager Lynette McKinney said.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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