Public-works protocol requested to curb Baldwin Township flooding
By Stephanie Hacke
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
A Baldwin Township commissioner recommended a protocol be adopted for public-works crews to monitor and clear blocked sewer lines when heavy rains are predicted in the region in an effort to reduce flooding in the area.
“What are we going to do so this doesn't happen again?” Commissioner Nick Pellegrino asked his colleagues at their voting meeting Aug. 6. “Maybe we need to put some policy or protocol in place.”
Don Harkin of Rose Lane approached commissioners at their meeting seeking answers to a backed-up storm drain that created what he called an eruption of water that flowed through his yard nearly all day during the July 10 storms.
Members of the Castle Shannon Volunteer Fire Company placed sandbags around his home.
“If it wasn't for that, it would have been catastrophic,” Harkin said. “This was a river that ran through my yard for seven and a half hours. ... I've lived here over 50 years, and this is the worst I've ever experienced. It's happened before, some, to a smaller degree but not like this.”
Harkin questioned how often officials inspect storm drains in the township and remove debris from them.
This time, the problem likely wasn't only the debris, but the size of the lines, officials said.
“Our storm sewers, of course, just like everyone else around this part of western Pennsylvania, are not designed for these storms,” engineer Glenn Jonnet said.
“There's no infrastructure that can be built that will contain that amount of water in that amount of time,” Solicitor Thomas McDermott said.
Yet, Pellegrino said, he wants to create a plan for the future: having public works crews review problem sewer lines when a storm is brewing.
“A lot of that already is done,” said township manager Rob Zahorchak, noting that public-works crews check pipelines throughout the community often on a daily basis.
A portion of three Baldwin Township streets will be paved in the next few months as a part of the municipality's annual road-maintenance program.
Commissioners, in a unanimous vote at their voting meeting last week, approved a $78,726 contract with A. Folino Construction Inc. to pave the roads, subject to a review by the township's engineer and solicitor. The contract included a 10-percent bid bond. Paving likely will be completed in September and October, Jonnet said.
Roads to be paved this year are Edgeridge Road, the 600 block of Highview Road and Old Farm Road from No. 488 to the township border.
Six bids were opened during the Aug. 6 commissioners meeting for the project, of which A. Folino's was the lowest.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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