McDonald looks to build consensus with flooded municipalities

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In response to a number of concerned residents at the McDonald Borough Council meeting Monday, council President Marilou Ritchie said the borough was working with neighboring municipalities to come up with a permanent solution to the sort of flooding caused by heavy rains last month.


Ritchie said the borough was working to secure an agreement with the Allegheny County municipalities of Oakdale, North Fayette and South Fayette. The municipalities were scheduling visits to area retention ponds and reservoirs to explore ways to prevent future flooding. She said the idea to cooperate came out of frustration over prior individual meetings with state Department of Environmental Protection officials.


“We just need them to give us some guidance for what we can and cannot do,” Ritchie said. “Every time it rains, you just panic, you just stand there and watch it. It gets close, and it’s a terrible feeling. There’s nothing you can do.”


A number of citizens attended Monday’s meeting in order to learn more about recent visits from officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


McDonald is the only municipality in Pennsylvania that has land in two counties. The borough has portions in both Allegheny and Washington counties.


Oakdale Councilman Ron “Huck” Gamble came up with the idea to cooperate. He said he is working to coordinate a time when DEP officials can meet with township and borough officials and engineers to come up with a solution.


“We just want to get to the bottom of it,” Gamble said. “If the DEP is responsible for getting (retention ponds) installed by a developer, then I am almost certain that is who has to make sure they are maintained correctly. So that’s how we’re dealing with it.”


All of the municipalities in the consortium are part of the 100-year floodplain of Robinson Run Creek, along with Robinson, Midway and Cecil townships on the Washington County side of the tributary.


Ritchie said she hoped the municipalities on the Washington side of the county line would be able to come to similar agreement. She said borough officials would send requests to counterparts in other Washington municipalities along Robinson Run Creek.


In the meantime, Gamble and Ritchie said they look forward to receiving emergency permits from the DEP that will allow them to remove a buildup of downed tree branches, trunks and other refuse that has clogged up choking points in the waterway that flows beneath bridges and culverts. Officials hope these projects can begin in the next few weeks.


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