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N. Huntingdon to consider partnership to tackle flooding problems

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By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Thursday, July 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

North Huntingdon leaders will continue to meet with residents who are concerned about flooding on their properties, and they may consider a public-private partnership to fix the problem.

Three people spoke to commissioners at a meeting Wednesday about flooding woes, which have become more prevalent with recent heavy rainfall.

The problem area falls between Adams Drive and Roth Drive in the western portion of the township where a pipe channeling a creek runs beneath four properties, township manager John Shepherd said.

The township does not own the pipe, nor did they install it, Shepherd said.

“The pipe is collapsing and filling up with sediment,” he said.

Officials will meet with the affected citizens to see if there's interest in a partnership to fix the pipe, which could cost about $68,000, he said.

Another option, he said, is yanking out the pipe and allowing the stream, a tributary of Long Run, to run its course.

Township commissioner David Herold moved for the township to foot the entire bill to fix the pipe. The motion failed 3-3.

“I just don't think … people should have to live in fear every time it rains,” Herold said. “You get water in your house, that's a big thing — whether it's a little bit or a lot. I think we need to stand up. Let's do something so these people can have peace.”

Herold, Tony Martino and Donald Austin voted yes. Zachary Haigis, Brian West and Richard Gray voted no. Board president Lee Moffatt was absent.

“I'm not in favor of having the township completely doing the project,” Haigis said. “I'm not in favor of going on a private residence and fixing a private problem.”

Commissioner Richard Gray expressed concerns about what criteria the township would use to decide when to intervene in flooding issues.

“The private pipes are failing,” Gray said.

Officials laid out several options, one of which would include North Huntingdon paying for surveying and maintenance costs, Shepherd said.

The fix would be costly, considering it would divert a pipe around a driveway and necessitate a manhole, Michael Turley, assistant township manager, said.

“It's a costly and not a simple matter to fix,” Turley said.

The 24-inch pipe is in disrepair, township planning director Andrew Blenko said.

“It's in very poor condition. It's partially blocked,” Blenko said. “Why a 24-inch pipe was chosen is beyond me.”

Roth Drive resident Steve Reese told commissioners that water flows along Adams in between two homes and then onto his yard and driveway. He said water does not enter his home.

“Please help my family and the others involved,” Reese said. “We don't have this equity to do all of this ourselves.”

Township resident Michael Hornyak said he's not directly impacted by the issue, but he urged commissioners to take action. He called on commissioners to use township money to fix the problem citing an “obligation to manage that water” because it crosses a road.

“People should not live in fear every time it rains,” he said.

Resident Jonathan Murin, who lives in a different section of the township, also said his yard floods thanks to water that crosses beneath his driveway, even washing out the driveway.

Shepherd said officials will meet with Murin to learn more about the issue.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or

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