Towns in Allegheny, Washington counties join forces to fight flooding
April 21, 2017 12:00 AM
By Bob Podurgiel
Eight municipalities near the boundary between Allegheny and Washington counties are joining forces to alleviate flash flooding within their borders.
Bridgeville council last week agreed to advertise an ordinance to join seven other towns to create the Robinson Run-Chartiers Creek Municipal Watershed Alliance.
The other municipalities pledging to sign onto the agreement are Robinson in Allegheny County and North Fayette, Oakdale, Collier, McDonald, South Fayette and Mount Pleasant.
“The main emphasis of the alliance agreement is to authorize the communities to work together on flood control projects on a voluntary basis,” Thomas McDermott, Bridgeville solicitor, said at council’s April 10 meeting.
The alliance will also permit municipal agreements for sharing services and equipment, borough engineer Joe Sites said.
But Bridgeville Mayor Pasquale DeBlasio asked, “Are we creating another bureaucracy that might slow things down?”
Most of the flooding in the eight communities occurs along the tributaries of Charters Creek, and the mayor noted that the Chartiers Valley District Flood Control Authority already handles many of the projects in the Chartiers Creek watershed.
Bridgeville manager Lori Collins said the flood control authority has jurisdiction only to maintain the original Congressman James G. Fulton Flood Control project, which encompasses the main creek channel and limited sections of some tributaries.
Also, the Chartiers Valley District Flood Control Authority must work in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on any project.
After a flood occurred in July 2013, Bridgeville found that getting authorization from the Army Corps of Engineers to extend jurisdiction to tributaries such as McLaughlin Run is a long and complicated process. The borough concluded that a multi-community approach would be more effective.
“By working together, we can apply for grants and the Allegheny County Conservation District will help us,” Ms. Collins said.
“The agreement will be nonbinding and there will be no fees involved. There might be one in the future, but a community can withdraw at any time,” she said.
“The idea is to create a critical mass of communities when it comes to applying for Corps of Engineers grants,” Mr. McDermott said.
He said he believed the new alliance will encourage nonbureaucratic planning meetings of municipal managers and engineers.
“Other communities might want to join when they find out the alliance is out there,” Ms. Collins said.
Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer: email@example.com.
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