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Six years ago, after an unusually rainy summer, Center Street Extension near the White Oak Farms apartment complex was closed due to unstable ground.
Fast forward to summer 2019, and heavy storms are still causing problems in the borough, this time in the form of flooding.
Residents brought their concerns to White Oak Borough Council at the August meeting. Anton Leppo, who has lived on Kansas Avenue for about one year, is concerned for his home.
“Every time we have a half-decent storm, everything goes down the hillside and into the house,” he said. “The driveway is like a river coming down. I’m going to lose my house because of this. The foundation is only going to hold for so long.”
Anne Radakovich, Leppo’s neighbor on Kansas Avenue, has lived on the street since the 1970s.
Houses on the street “never got water like they do today,” she said. “There were two sewers that were catching the water for years, perfect. Then they put in a diversion and only one sewer took the water. The overflow makes it Niagara Falls.”
Solicitor Krisha DeMascio said that she and borough engineer Ken Hillman have been working to find a solution, but the process has been hindered because some of the sewers and drainage systems in the area are not owned by the borough, but by private landowners.
“It took us a long time to go through and mark what is public and what is private,” DeMascio said. “Council has had several meetings about this, and tonight they have authorized the engineer to go back and look for an overall fix, but some of that we would need cooperation from private landowners and they would have to have a meeting with us because it’s not our lines or our property.”
Council did approve a project that will include the GPS mapping of the entire storm sewer system in the Borough, which includes about 1,350 unit structures, inlets, manholes, and outfalls. The estimated cost is between $40,000 and $60,000 based on the number of systems unit structures.
Though this project is part of the requirement for a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permit as mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, it will also yield useful information to be used moving forward with the flooding problem, borough officials said.
Additionally, council approved a quote from Insight Pipe to refine the storm sewers from Cypress Drive to Lincoln Way at a cost of $28,520. Council President David Pasternak abstained from the vote. The quote was obtained through the state's COSTARS joint purchasing program.
Christy Walters is a freelance writer from White Oak. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published August 20, 2019.