July 1st, 2015 10:55 am

By Robert Tomkavage


CLARKS SUMMIT — Borough council discussed flooding problems on East Greenwood Avenue during a Clarks Summit work session meeting on Tuesday, June 30.

“About five years ago, we had an issue where the water overflowed the capacity of the pipes to handle it and there was some damage in the backyards,” said Clarks Summit Borough Manager Virginia Kehoe. “We cleaned it up and assessed it and found there was no easy fix. It happened a second time and we tried to figure out what we can do. This year, we’ve had it happen three times.”

Council member Herman Johnson believes the size of the pipes, along with an increase in rainfall, has created the problem.

“My opinion is the pipe is not large enough and we’re getting more and more rain coming down in a short period of time,” Johnson said. “It’s flooding because the pipes can’t handle it. It’s a safety issue. We, as council members, should get something at least started (toward a solution) to help them out.”

According to Clarks Summit Borough Engineer Bob Naegele, the high intensity, quick bursts of rain are causing the flooding.

“We’re seeing more of it; it’s reality,” he said. “My first impression is that it’s a culvert issue. The pipe may have enough capacity, but the culvert itself getting into the pipe may not have enough capacity.”

Kehoe added the close vicinity of the homes to a creek has intensified the problem.

“This creek is right against their back doors,” she said. “We allowed homes to be built close to water and now we’re trying to come up with solutions because the volume of water attacking these homes is different. It’s literally just torn apart the backyards.”

Council hopes to vote on a plan to submit to the Department of Environmental Protection (DPW) by its September meeting.

Council also discussed noise complaints and vandalism concerns at the Helmock Street Park after a fence was removed.

“The reason we took the fence down was because DPW was coming down here too many times to repair the slats of the plastic fence,” he said. “We created a little problem. My suggestion would be to put in a chain link fence and a couple sensor lights.”

Council planned to vote on purchasing a chain link fence during the July 1 council meeting.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.