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City to consider DEP plan to end Hays flooding

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

By Timothy McNulty, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The city is getting its ducks in a row for a $10.4 million project to protect the Streets Run watershed in Hays from flooding.

Marines came to the aid of flood victims in the Hays section of Pittsburgh in August. (Joyce Mendelsohn, Post-Gazette)

Flash floods have been a chronic problem in the neighborhood, most recently during August when fast-rising water also troubled residents in Baldwin Borough, West Mifflin and West Homestead.

To prevent further flooding, the state Department of Environmental Protection is proposing to build a nearly mile-long concrete channel that would link with an existing culvert to collect floodwater and to pave over the current culvert.

The state would pay 80 percent of the project cost and the city would pay the remaining 20 percent, or about $2.08 million.

City Council will begin debating the proposal tomorrow.

The city has already earmarked $1 million for the project in its capital budget. Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey has said the county would kick in $1 million for labor costs.

The exact location of the channel and the schedule for the remediation project have not been determined. Once the city gives its approval, the state can begin surveys of the area that should answer those questions. The surveys will take 12 to 15 months to complete, Deputy Mayor Sal Sirabella said.

Last year, when local and state legislators were meeting with residents to discuss the flood problems, one of the remediation proposals was to simply buy all the homes in the flood plain and move the residents.

That is no longer a plan, though some homes may have to be razed to make way for the channel, Sirabella said. Exactly which homes has not been determined.

In addition, Baldwin Road in Hays might have to be raised so floodwater will run off into the channel.

The state completed similar plans for a Streets Run flood channel in 1990 and again in 1996, but both times there was not enough money to build the system.

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