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Scottdale residents question storm water system effectiveness

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 9:03 p.m.

With the last heavy rain in the area, some Scottdale residents and businesses are concerned with whether the borough has an adequate storm water system.

Phil Indovina, owner of Phil's Flicks on Pittsburgh Street near the bottom of town, said that in the last heavy rain storm, the amount of water that came down the back alley was enough to push in his back door into the area where two tanning beds are set up.

“It just came running in with no warning and my concern is for the safety of anyone that might have been in the tanning bed because they could have easily been electrocuted,” he said.

Borough Manager Angelo Pallone said when he went to look at the situation, the water was coming down the alley to a storm grate that crossed the entire alley.

Unfortunately, the storm grate was filled to capacity and the water was rolling off that grate and down to the low-lying parking area and back door of Phil's Flicks and also the Geyer Performing Arts Center.

Councilman Bud Santimyer, who chairs the public services committee, said the borough is hoping to apply for funds through the Jacob's Creek Watershed Association (JCWA) with the GreenStreets Program for a storm-water runoff alleviation project for this alley. However, even if the borough was approved for funding through this program, it wouldn't be until 2015 or 2016. As a quick fix, the borough will look into the possibility of putting in some kind of roll curbing in that area.

Resident Tom Seaman, who lives near the bottom of the hill on Arthur Avenue, said this was the first time he can remember that it has rained hard enough for rain to get into his basement, although it was minimal.

“I think the closest storm water drain along Arthur (Avenue) is six blocks up and the water coming down Loucks Avenue is coming over to Arthur Avenue by the time it gets to the bottom of the hill,” Seaman said. “Personally, I don't think we have a big enough storm water system in the borough.”

Pallone agreed, adding that once the storm system is full, there is no place for the water to go.

Santimyer said he and Councilman Jack Davis have been working closely with the JCWA to attempt to get funding through this GreenStreets infrastructure to help out with water issues throughout the borough.

In fact, $60,000 in funds have been received through GreenStreets for this year's application to try and alleviate some water runoff issues behind businesses along Pittsburgh Street, including the Scottdale Pharmacy.

A project has been designed that would cut off any entrance onto or off of Pittsburgh Street from Graft Alley, next to the Scottdale Pharmacy.

Instead, any entrance or exit onto that alley would be from the Mulberry Street area and would lead down the alley to two newly constructed parking lots on either side of the alley behind the Main Street businesses.

These parking lots combined would create about 11 new parking spots, and would include porous concrete that would be used for the parking stalls, as well as two different water swales and the planting of trees and bushes.

Members of council passed a motion to begin the process of getting this project underway by moving forward with getting permission from all of the property owners involved with the use of the alley.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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