Flood control spared homes along Chartiers Creek

But officials say more work needed

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Officials from communities in the Chartiers Creek watershed are crediting a $385,000 flood control project completed last year for sparing homes from being flooded along Campbells Run in Carnegie after heavy rains pounded the region in July.

The last major flood along Campbells Run was in May 2010 when the tributary of Chartiers Creek that drains areas of Collier and Robinson overflowed its banks and inundated the homes of 60 residents, destroying one house.

After that flood, Carnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek and Carnegie council worked with U. S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, to secure federal funds to dredge the stream of sediment and remove debris. The banks were stabilized with rock-filled wire baskets called gabions.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers worked on the project in the area where it had jurisdiction -- a quarter-mile of Campbells Run from the Morrow Street Bridge downstream to Chartiers Creek. The Carnegie Public Works Department dredged and secured the banks from the Morrow Bridge upstream to Robinson.

"The project was a success. The last round of flooding proved that," the mayor said.

"The flood control project on Campbells Run worked perfectly," said Haywood Vincent, who lives in the Lexington Court section of Carnegie.

"The workers should be praised.

"They did a lot of work, and their work deterred the water quite a bit."

Sections of Oakdale, Bridgeville and Scott weren't as fortunate after the July 10 rains. In Oakdale, 52 homes, 15 businesses and several borough properties were hit by flooding, with damages estimated at $600,000 by fire Chief Bill Hartman Jr.

Even though the project in Carnegie proved successful, Mr. Kobistek said awareness is still needed when it comes to the potential for flooding.

"Areas like Campbells Run can flood when there is intense rain in a short period of time," he said.

The mayor and council also are concerned about what effects further development in Collier and Robinson will have on the volume of water flowing in Campbells Run.

He said Robinson, Collier and Carnegie have joined together to apply for a study grant of the Campbells Run watershed from the Allegheny County Infrastructure and Tourism Fund.

The study is needed, he said, before Congress can allocate any money to do additional work on Campbells Run.

"It's absolutely worthwhile. Repairs are very expense after a flood. This type of work saves a lot of money in the long run," he said.

The mayor said he would keep working with Fred Bigham, chairman of the Chartiers Valley District Flood Control Authority, on projects to keep the main channel of Chartiers Creek clear and to remove debris such as logs and tree branches that accumulate against bridge piers in the creek and prevent water from flowing downstream.

"We need to get back in there to clean the sediment and debris out," the mayor said.

Mr. Bigham said he will work with local officials for the rest of the summer and is planning a public meeting in the fall to address flood prevention.

Mr. Kobistek said Mr. Murphy has been instrumental at the federal level in helping with various flood control projects.

"Every time there is a heavy storm, I get a call from the congressman or his staff asking if we need any help," he said.

neigh_west - neigh_south

Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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