The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Washington County officials Monday toured sections of the Chartiers Creek watershed, as part of an effort to address flooding that has impacted about a dozen communities along the watershed.

The tour provided local officials from the affected municipalities an opportunity to show representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers where flooding has occurred and share their concerns about the impact the flooding has had on the communities.

Corps engineers, accompanied by representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Washington County Conservation District, Lisa Cessna, the director of the Washington County Planning Department, and Washington County Commissioner Harlan Shober, visited watershed sites in South Franklin, North Franklin and Canton townships, along with the city of Washington.

They plan to visit other communities along the 19-mile stretch of watershed on July 22 and July 24.

Michael Debes of the Army Corps of Engineers said, “The key thing we will be doing is actually putting eyes on the concerns and listening to the representatives from the communities impacted. We want to hear and see what their concerns are.”

During the first stop, South Franklin Township manager Tyler Linck led officials to sites that flood frequently during rainstorms. Linck said the township building and garage, several homes, and the Lone Pine Country Club are among the locations that flood.

Alleviating the flooding, Linck said, “basically would provide safe access to homes during emergencies, it would save our roads, and it would save people’s properties. It would keep stagnant water from sitting, which attracts bugs and mosquitoes.”

After completing the tour of areas along Chartiers Creek, Catfish Creek and Chartiers Run, along with tributaries that municipal representatives have designated as problem spots, the Corps of Engineers will use a modeling analysis to determine flood-reduction strategies for the communities.

Municipalities will be responsible for the design, construction and costs of flood-reduction solutions. The Corps is not charging the municipalities for the cost of the study and modeling, approximately $250,000.

“We need to do something. People’s lives are being disrupted, and then after the rains we’re forgetting about it,” said Shober, who organized the tour. “It’s time for us to try to do the best we can to address the problem. I’m happy to have the support of the Corps of Engineers, the DEP and other groups to help solve this.”

The project is slated to take place over an approximately two-year period and will be completed in two phases. The first phase, including field work, is underway, and modeling is expected to be completed this year.

The second phase, including development of flood-reduction strategies and the proposed conditions model, is slated to be completed in 2020.

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