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BANKSVILLE (KDKA) — Why is there so much flooding in the Banksville section of the city even after a lot of money was spent to fix it?
Folks on Hayson Avenue have come to fear the rain. Twice this week alone it has flooded their driveways and basements with storm water and raw sewage.
“It’s sewage. We are getting sewage backups in the basement, laundry room. We have a small bathroom downstairs; the shower fills up with raw sewage,” Gena Pollice said.
Two years ago, KDKA-TV News did a story on the same street about a $1.7 million PWSA project to capture flood waters in an underground containment tank and soak up the rest in porous bio-swale gardens.
KDKA-TV’s Andy Sheehan: “It was supposed to fix the flooding. What happened?”
Pollice: “It did not fix the flooding. It only has made it worse.”
Folks say the underground containment tank is way too small, instead causing storm sewer backups, and that rather than soak up water, the little gardens have only clogged the drains with runoff mulch.
Sheehan: “This was supposed to be a model for the whole city.”
Bernadette Hughes: “We were told that this was the pilot project. If this is the pilot project, Pittsburghers beware because your homes are in danger.”
Hughes has spent $20,000 replacing washers, dryers and heaters while trying in vain to protect her home with sandbags.
“This is our homes. We can’t even get into our driveways. We’re blocked off,” Hughes said.
And while PWSA’s Will Pickering does not believe their solution has made matter worse, he concedes it has been no match for the recent rains.
“Well, it was designed for a certain level storm and obviously these intense storms are overwhelming what we’ve designed for,” Pickering said.
The PWSA says they’ll be working with the neighbors on short-range solutions like fixing the rain gardens and raising the curbs while looking for a longer-term fix down the road.