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Flood problems addressed at Whhitehall council meeting

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Gary and Teresa Brueggman said they worry someone is going to die from the quickly moving waters that rush through their Echo Glen Drive neighborhood before Whitehall officials take action to solve longstanding flooding problems in the area.

“It's come to the point where it's not an inconvenience anymore. It's a safety matter,” Gary Brueggman told Whitehall Council members at their meeting last week. “It's something that I feel needs to be addressed immediately.”

Addressing widespread flooding issues in the 3.2-square-mile town likely will require costly studies and increased community conversations, borough officials said at their Aug. 7 meeting, as they listened to another round of resident concerns surrounding recent storms that left many properties under water.

“We need a better monitoring system,” Mayor James Nowalk said.

The mayor and council members said they are considering holding public meetings on a regular basis, in a community conversation-style forum, to address where flooding problems are in the borough.

Council members also said they want to see studies and engineers' recommendations for how to handle flooding issues so they know how to move forward prioritizing and addressing the problems.

“The study is the first step,” Councilman Robert McKown said.

The Brueggmans said they have been coming to Whitehall council meetings for 25 years with similar concerns.

“I think it's time that we have to seriously take a look at what needs done,” Gary Brueggman said. “It's not storm back up, it's actual flooding with large amounts of water coming down. ... We have to get serious about this. The water just comes down the backyard like a river.”

The couple has done work on their house in an effort to solve the problem, Teresa Brueggman said.

“We can't keep coming here every time it rains,” Gary Brueggman said.

Councilman Phil Lahr requested a speedy response from borough engineer Ruthann Omer with recommendations about how to address flooding concerns throughout the borough.

As for a study near Echo Glen, “it was discussed that it was going to cost a significant amount of money to survey that area,” borough Manager James Leventry said. “That's going to be a tough area.”

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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