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Donora fields restoration complaints

| Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, 12:52 a.m.

Donora council plans to conduct a meeting for residents to discuss property restoration concerns associated with the Donora Place Plan Sewage Extension Project.

At a council meeting Thursday, Borough Administrator Dennis Fisher said concerns have been raised about 11 properties where restoration work purportedly was not properly completed by the contractor, Fleming-Walker of Portersville, Pa.

He urged other residents with similar complaints to attend the planned meeting – for which no date has been set.

Fisher said the borough has withheld a portion of the money owed to Fleming-Walker.

“That will not be paid until the project is totally complete to the satisfaction of the borough,” Fisher said.

Ken Barbao of 704 Orchard St. told council that holes in his fence have not been repaired. Barbao said his property was one of the 11 to which Fisher referred.

“I also had a personal agreement that they could park all their equipment and dump the dirt on my property,” Barbao said. “They haven't repaired that. All I wanted them to do was level it off and replace the topsoil, and I'd take care of resodding it. But they haven't done that, either.”

The borough cannot include the latter complaint in its concerns, because it involves a personal agreement.

Tim Durka, street commissioner and code enforcement officer, said Fleming-Walker indicated it would repair Barbao's fence.

Barbao said Fleming-Walker project manager John Marks apologized for not having the fence fixed.

“What we need to do is have our solicitor send them a letter telling them that they need to meet with us,” council President Dr. Karen Polkabla said.

Councilman Bill Hevia said the owners of the 11 properties and “all people that still have a complaint ... anyone with a complaint” should attend the meeting.

Rick Harlack of 1101 Fourth Ave. said his property had been surveyed prior to the project work, claiming crews from Fleming-Walker removed all the pins and stakes before digging on the parcel.

“I paid good money to have that survey done,” Harlack said.

Durka said the contractor is willing to pay for a new survey of Harlack's property.

Dredging problems?

In another matter, council directed Durka to contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to inquire about possible contaminants in river sediment the borough mixes with road salt for winter maintenance on streets.

Harlack questioned council on the use of the material, mostly sand and bedrock dredged from the Monongahela River.

“The mill was down there for a very long time,” Harlack said of possible contamination related to the Big Steel era.

“All I'm asking is, do we know it's safe? It's on the street, and I'm walking on it and tracking it in the house. That's all. If it's safe, it's no problem for me.”

Durka said he's been using the mixture for three years.

“What it is, an acquaintance of mine dredges the river, because he loads barges,” Durka said. “It's free to the borough, so I started using it. It's free. I was trying to be cheap.”

Polkabla asked Durka to contact the Corps of Engineers, because it also has been dredging the river.

“If it's something that's unsafe or hazardous, they wouldn't be able to just dump it along the riverbank or up at Palmer Park,” Polkabla said. “Just call them and make sure.”

“It's sand and bedrock,” Councilman Jason Menendez said. “Stop using it until we can make sure.

“Salt is very expensive. We do a good job of saving money on salt, thanks to us mixing it. The sand had taken the place of cinders, which became hard to come by.”Polkabla said the matter can be resolved through a phone call.

In other business:

• Council agreed to pay $4,553.50 to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Federal Surplus Property Division for a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban SUV with 151,851 miles on it, for use by police.

• Council reappointed PNC Bank as the majority depository for borough funds through Dec. 31.

• Councilman Don Pavelko announced that refuse collection invoices have been mailed and that residents should have received garbage bills by Thursday. Residents are asked to notify the borough about billing or if bills have not been received.

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2667.

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