Leaders working on solution to keep flooding devastation minimal in Butler County during heavy rain

BUTLER COUNTY, Pa. — Last month, Channel 11 showed you the devastation flooding caused across many communities in Butler County. In just a week, two storms rolled through our area.

We saw several businesses, homes and roads underwater due to the heavy rain. Small towns like Harmony, Zelienople, Evans City and Jackson Township were hit hard.

“We had about six inches of standing water between our house and the house next door,” said Mimi Antonetti, Zelienople resident.

Residents are very familiar with these issues saying it’s been going on for years and they want something done about it.

Now all four of these neighboring municipalities are planning to form a joint storm water authority.

“Stormwater is not a local issue, it’s a regional issue so if neighbors can come together to work on these issues is much better than what we can do on our own,” said Andrew Spencer, Zelienople borough manager.

Channel 11 sat down with the borough managers of Zelienople and Jackson Township. They said the authority will implement projects to combat flooding problems including improving storm drains and elevation of certain roads.

“So we can get them up above the flood plain area and then better retention of water in certain areas. If we can retain water upstream before it gets downstream that’s going to help,” said Jackson Township borough manager Chris Rearick.

When there’s significant rain, we often see the Connoquenessing Creek and the waterways connected to it overflow. Leaders said these projects can help minimize that but not totally eliminate flooding.

“Obviously the magnitude of the events that occurred two weeks ago can not be completely mitigated but hopefully it can be minimized in the future and be alleviated more quickly,” said Rearick.

Before the authority can be formed, each municipality is holding a public meeting to get resident’s input. They can also ask questions and share concerns about stormwater problems. Some residents think this is a good idea.

“It’s definitely needed. I’m glad they are working together. There are a lot of stormwater issues,” said Antonetti.

The new joint stormwater authority would need to be approved by all four municipalities. Borough managers said that could happen by the end of the summer.

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