Aging municipal infrastructure adds to flooding, but you can help

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Rainfall totals from the weather on July 10 are measuring between a 25-year and a 100-year rainfall event in communities predominantly south of Pittsburgh. Many of these communities have combined storm and sanitary infrastructure built more than 50 years ago.

Based on the resulting floods from that Wednesday, do you -- the public at large -- believe your local municipality or your county government should investigate the root cause of flooding in your area, work with neighboring municipalities and develop solutions to eliminate flooding in your area? Do you believe that you, your neighbors, your local businesses, schools, parks, churches, hospitals and other community institutions have a stake in creating and implementing a broad plan for tackling the negative effects of intense rainfall events?

I would suggest approaching these unfortunate events as an opportunity to express to your local leaders where problems may exist and what you're prepared to do to fix them. The major cause of the events we've recently experienced is aging of the existing infrastructure, which has resulted in a decreased ability to respond to intense rainfalls.

The civil engineers who quantify the cost of effective sanitary and stormwater infrastructure and the elected leaders who take that information and determine how best to manage your municipal sanitary and stormwater flows need your voice in determining how best to tackle your aging sanitary and stormwater pipes.

Now is the best time to contact them, as many of you and your friends are living with the unfortunate results of that recent storm.

JONATHAN SHIMKO
Chairman, Pittsburgh Chapter
Environmental and Water Resources Institute
Downtown


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