Seek help from pros on flooding

Engineers or other professionals with training and experience in stormwater management might be able to guide Ebensburg officials about how to correct — or at least minimize — a Beech Street flooding problem.

A street resurfacing project several years ago, by which the street surface was raised nearly to the top of curbing, is being blamed by a resident for the problem.

But Ebensburg’s hilly landscape poses a challenge; one remedial step could cause another problem.

That’s why the borough needs professional guidance before embarking on any corrective action.

At a Borough Council meeting last month, officials agreed to seek that professional assistance, although they indicated that it might take some time for corrective measures to begin.

Besides the time needed to study the problem, there’s the issue of finding the money to do whatever corrective work might be recommended.

Ebensburg and other municipalities operate under tight budget constraints.

Finding money for any corrective action might be difficult.

That wouldn’t be good news for Pete Spinelli, of the 700 block of Beech Street, who told the council last month that flooding has ruined his home’s basement carpeting, as well as a door.

“I really think someone is obligated to fix this problem,” Spinelli said. “I’m kind of at your mercy to do something about it.”

He admitted that the flooding problem isn’t encountered every time it rains, but only during heavy or persistent rain events.

He said that heavy rain in June provided the latest “assault” on his property, and he indicated that other property owners were being affected to some degree also.

In hindsight, removal of some of the old pavement, before resurfacing began, might have prevented or minimized the problems.

Perhaps one corrective option might be to reshape the new surface along the curbing, hopefully to provide enough capacity for rainwater to flow along that curbing rather than cross into nearby yards.

At their meeting, council members suggested the possibility of installing catch basins, but Borough Manager Dan Penatzer made the good point that diverting water could pass problems on to another area of the borough.

That would exacerbate what he described as stormwater problems that exist all over town.

For the Beech Street neighborhood, he said that a stormwater drainage system might be best, but addressing a flooding problem isn’t usually an easy task, especially for hilly places like Ebensburg.

For now, Beech Street residents can only hope that borough officials’ stated openness to pursuing a solution will result in the problem being corrected in the not-too-distant future.

Meanwhile, the Beech Street problem should serve as a source of instruction for the borough when it pursues other resurfacing projects.