County task force looks to past for data on how to deal with landslides

County task force looks to past for data on how to deal with landslides

PITTSBURGH — Landslides did more than $24 million worth of damage in just two months last year.

That includes $4.7 million just in the city of Pittsburgh, plus another $5.5 million in the rest of Allegheny County.

Many of the landslides aren't new problems, but are ongoing, like on Pittview Avenue in Reserve Township.

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The road collapsed nearly a year ago and plenty of work remains to be done.


Allegheny County is putting a plan into place to help communities dealing with issues like that, help that includes resources and history.

"Looking at the weather today, almost to the day, we're cycling back very similar to how we were last year at this time. I think it's a hint to all of us that we really need to adapt," said Matt Brown, EMS chief for Allegheny County.

The landslide impact has been felt throughout the county over the last year, with communities like Baldwin, Ross, Forest Hills and more than 30 others dealing with landslides just between February and April.

"I can tell you that's probably doubled today. I mean, we've continued to have them since then," Brown said.

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To prepare for what could be another wet and dangerous year, Brown looked to the past for answers.

"We uncovered history. The history, which goes back pretty far. In fact, some of the documents I saw from the early '70s documented a lot of the same locations we're having issues with now," he said,

It's part of the information Brown and members of the county's Landslide Task Force will be presenting to township and borough leaders.

The meeting will focus on areas that could be susceptible to future landslides, securing travel routes during emergencies and mitigation funding that's available to deal with the ongoing issue.

"I think it's a very good idea," said Dan DeMarco, a Ross Township commissioner who has watched landslides do plenty of damage in his community over the last year.

He welcomes the assistance, particularly if it can help prevent future slides.

"It could be a considerable amount of money saved if you know there's a landslide prone area and you can do something about it before it actually happens," DeMarco said.

Initially, the information will only be available to the boroughs and municipalities, but Brown expects it will be made public at some point. Allegheny County's Landslide Task Force will unveil its findings to community leaders on Wednesday.