Local
8:22 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Plan Would Address Flood-Prone Areas in Pittsburgh

Hoping to avoid the fatal flooding that took place on Washington Boulevard in August, and other chronic flooding issues, City Councilman Bill Peduto is calling on the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to address the root causes of the problem.

For the last several months the councilman has been meeting with residents who have experienced some of the worst flooding problems and put together an above-ground analysis of the problem, as well as a below-ground look and identified five areas that have the worst problems.

"There are some lines that have hundreds of houses on them, where it would be relatively easy to switch them to another line where there are only 10 or 15 houses," said Peduto's Policy Director Matt Barron, "another thing we found is there's poor maintenance of some of the catch basins in these areas experiencing heavy flooding. They're crumbling, there are large objects falling into them and blocking the pipes, with regular maintenance and replacement we could solve some of these problems relatively easily."

Peduto held a news conference on the corner of Forbes Avenue and Aylesboro Avenue in Squirrel Hill because it's one of the troubled areas, and because a fix is already underway there. Another troubled area is in Oakland near Neville Street.

"We have an area down in Point Breeze and one in East Liberty and two areas in Shadyside. An area in Shadyside alone, near Maryland Avenue, there have been about four times when basements have flooded over the last two years, six times when there's been significant damage and two times when cars have floated down Maryland Avenue onto Ellsworth Avenue," said Peduto.

Peduto is calling on the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to make needed repairs to catch basins and scope pipes that may be blocked, and repair those that may be collapsing. But, Policy Director Matt Barron said that will only solve part of the problem.

"There's a need for not only gray solutions to this, building bigger pipes and putting in more connections," he said, "but also green solutions where we can actually slow the flow of water, capture it in things like rain barrels, rain gardens and other methods to reduce the amount of water that's going into the system after a heavy rainfall."

Peduto and his staff worked with Three Rivers Wet Weather to compile the report, and issue recommendations. A copy of the report has been given to the Mayor and all city council members as well as the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.