Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Towns in two counties join forces to fight flash flooding

- 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 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 multicommu­nity 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.

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