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Still no answers for Baldwin Borough residents in flood-prone areas

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Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Baldwin Borough residents continue to ask officials for help with damage from flooding that occurred months ago, and borough leaders still don't have answers for them.

Storm sewer systems in the borough aren't big enough to handle large amounts of rain, officials said, and installing bigger pipes would have to start at the lower end of the watershed and involve several municipalities.

“It's nothing the borough did,” borough engineer Larry Souleret said at a meeting last week, addressing a resident who asked council for help. “It's just the way the land has developed over time and now to fix it you're talking about new storm systems and spending a lot of money.”

Residents have been pressuring the borough at public meetings since July's heavy rains to take steps to prevent future flooding, but eliminating problems with the current stormwater collection system is unlikely, borough Manager John Barrett said.

“It's not feasible,” he said. “But we probably can do some (smaller) things in the meantime to help.”

That could include adding more storm sewer inlets and addressing issues with the storm system during the borough's annual road paving program, he said. Souleret suggested Baldwin Borough officials consider an ordinance similar to one in Collier Township, which requires anyone who constructs an addition to a home or building to control water runoff from surfaces such as driveways.

Council members could form a committee to review the issues, he said.

Barrett also said the borough could do a comprehensive look at the storm sewer system, like it has already done for the roads and sewer lines.

Sourlet said considering the frequency of flooding problems, “It could get to the point where it's cheaper to buy a house and put in a retention facility on that lot than it is to fix it.”

“You want to buy my house?” asked the resident who sought council's help last week.

“That's what this council has got to decide,” the engineer said.

Barrett said acquiring houses in flood-prone areas isn't a consideration.

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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