Flooding solutions for Oakmont Commons being explored
Solutions to flooding problems in the Oakmont Commons may be identified this month, officials say.
The borough community’s homeowners association hired Gateway Engineers to conduct a study in order to address stormwater issues and flooding concerns.
It was recently submitted to Oakmont administrators and under review by borough engineer Amber Yon of Senate Engineering.
Findings from both firms, as well as possible recommendations, are expected to be discussed at council’s Aug. 19 meeting.
The study was completed prior to the heavy rains late July 21 into early July 22 that impacted more than 20 borough homes and totaled about a dozen vehicles.
About a dozen residents, including Oakmont Commons HOA President Kim Butler, came to council’s meeting Aug. 5 to tell their elected leaders what they’ve been through and to seek help.
“We have been talking about this for years,” Butler said. “I know that you are serious, and we are, too. We have done studies. We know there’s private property involved, and we’re asking the borough’s help to address access to the private property. Oakmont Commons is prepared to help financially. Access to the private property is the first step in coming to a solution.”
The private property Butler referred to includes one on a nearby hillside. Residents claim water runoff from that land is impacting the Commons.
Borough Manager Scott Fodi said the borough has reached out to that property owner, and that person declined to cooperate.
Resident Mike Bevilacqua pushed council to set deadlines for possible projects and the next steps to address the flooding. Bevilacqua lost two cars and his home sustained major damage on the first floor.
“Ideas should be set with deadlines,” he said. “It’s the safety of the community. We woke up at 1 a.m. with 8 inches of water in our house.
“Should we park on the street, on the hill every night and walk to our cars in the morning? It’s not safe for the community.”
Resident Michele Brusco told council to put themselves in flood victims’ shoes and to find short- and long-term solutions.
“You would not want to go through two floods,” Brusco said. “You would not want to lose two cars. It’s tough to take.”
Council President William Benusa said the borough has address culverts and catch basins in and around the Commons through the years, and ensured residents that their concerns were being heard.
He also said the houses were developed in a flood plain.
“The borough is attempting to address the issue with the resources that we have,” Benusa said.
Councilwoman Leah Powers said there’s a regional effort to get Penn Hills, Plum and Murrysville on board to address flooding in what’s called the Plum Creek Watershed Committee.
Those three communities also were devastated by the July 11 and July 21-22 storms.
Borough officials encouraged residents to contact Allegheny County and state officials to push for financial assistance for flood repairs.
Meanwhile, a block party fundraiser to help Oakmont Commons residents impacted by the flood is set for Aug. 10 from 1-4 p.m. at Greenwich Court, the cul-de-sac off Commons Drive.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .