Whitehall Council Addresses Flood Concerns
Heavy storms this summer may prove costly for the borough.
Responding to multiple floods at Whitehall Borough homes this summer—thanks largely in part to a slow, heavy downpour on July 20—the Whitehall Council on Wednesday night approved, 6-0, official investigations to be conducted regarding the potential installation of backflow preventers at three borough homes.
Following a closer look by borough engineers, the backflow preventers—described by borough engineer Ruthann L. Omer as valves that are installed on lateral sewer lines "to prevent backflow (water) from the main sewer going into the house during a storm"—would be purchased for the homes at 4797 Barone Dr., 4368 E. Barlind Dr. and 4927 Oakridge Dr.
Depending on installation variables, Omer estimated that the preventers would cost Whitehall between $5,000 and $15,000 each.
The three homes all fit borough officials' criteria for municipal investigation in that they have each been flooded at least twice (and documented thusly) and appear for now to be related to a borough sewage or roads problem.
Omer said that another home with flooding issues, 5150 Fieldcrest Dr., does not fit the borough's criteria and that borough officials will not investigate paying for a backflow preventer there. Omer said that the Fieldcrest home's flooding issues are "a private matter" and that runoff from a neighbor's property is to be blame.
The council also elected, 6-0, to have borough engineers inspect the properties of 4367 E. Barlind (which already has a backflow preventer installed), 1001 Girard Rd., and 4464 Country Club Dr., and a space between two homes on Grove Road, for possible municipal involvement related to flood prevention.
Also on Wednesday night, Teresa Brueggman of 4615 Echo Glen Dr., followed up with the Whitehall Council regarding how municipal workers are handling flooding issues on Echo Glen. Teresa and her husband, Gary, have maintained that a sewer in their neighborhood was not big enough to handle the rain and debris from July 20's storm.
Although borough engineers had already been researching flooding issues on Echo Glen, the council authorized Omer (at her request) by a 6-0 vote to conduct a full study of the Brueggmans' neighborhood in order to see what borough officials could possibly do to alleviate flooding there.
Heavy rain on Tuesday did not cause any flooding in the Brueggmans' area, Teresa confirmed on Wednesday, but she still called off from work that day to watch her house in case it did.
Omer estimated the cost of the study at "several thousand dollars," which would not include the implementation of any corrective measures that might be deemed as necessary after the study is completed.
Omer said that some property owners around the Echo Glen neighborhood might be responsible for corrective measures, too.
"This may not be all on the borough," she said.
The Whitehall Council includes seven elected officials. Councilwoman Kathleen N. DePuy was absent.
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