Salisbury Press

Saturday, December 15, 2018


Wednesday, December 27, 2017 by Paul Willistein in Local News

East Susquehanna Street water runoff concerns resurface

Stormwater woes along East Susquehanna Street, and discussion of them, continue in Salisbury Township.

The Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners, township public works director, township engineering consultant and township code enforcement officer addressed a citizen’s complaint about stormwater runoff during an approximate 40-minute discussion at the Dec. 14 township meeting.

Commissioners next meet 7 p.m. Dec. 28 in the township municipal building, 2900 South Pike Ave., when they are expected to vote on the 2018 township budget.

Salisbury Township Commissioner James Seagreaves, during the commissioners’ commentary portion of the Dec. 14 meeting, said he had been contacted by a township resident who complained about alleged continuing stormwater runoff in the vicinity of Byfield Street, south of East Susquehanna Street and several blocks west of William H. Laubach Memorial Park on the township’s east side.

Salisbury Township Code Enforcement Officer Sandy Nicolo said he was in contact with the resident.

The problem, it was explained, is that water is apparently flowing off of East Susquehanna Street in the vicinity of a billboard onto Byfield Street and the resident’s property.

“There’s a substantial issue. I would like to see what we can do to help her out,” Seagreaves said of the unnamed resident.

Salisbury Township Director of Public Works John Andreas said, “We already had a meeting with PennDOT. They’re going to update the corridor in the next few years.

East Susquehanna Street is a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation maintained highway.

Andreas said the corridor to be improved includes Broadway and Emmaus Avenue.

While Andreas said the upgrade would include stormwater drains, Salisbury Township Consulting Engineer David J. Tettemer, of Keystone Consulting Engineers, Inc., said he wasn’t so sure PennDOT improving the stormwater system would be included in the corridor improvements.

“There’s an inlet there that’s causing issues downstream,” Andreas said of the East Susquehanna and Byfield streets area. “They [PennDOT] would like to partner [with the township],” Andreas said.

“There’s probably half a dozen locations that run along there that could be considered,” Tettemer said of East Susquehanna Street.

Improvements in the corridor are apparently targeted for the year 2020.

“If there’s anything that the township would do before that, they’d [PennDOT] like it to be coordinated. They’d [PennDOT] like the township to make a presentation,” Tettemer said.

Township board of commissioners Vice President Robert Martucci Jr. asked Tettemer what the cost of East Susquehanna drainage improvements would be.

“Any kind of planning or design, that would be on the township,” Tettemer said.

“Is that something that you could do?” Martucci asked Tettemer.

“Sure,” Tettemer replied.

“The issue isn’t Susquehanna Street, but beyond there,” Andreas said, adding that during a storm, the water flows southward to a vacant lot.

It was asked if hydrology discussions have occurred with PennDOT officials.

“It really only scratches the surface,” Salisbury Township Manager Cathy Bonaskiewich said.

Salisbury Township Building Code Official and Code Enforcement Officer Sandy Nicolo said the stormwater pipe crossing under East Susquehanna Street could be straightened out. He also said the pipe is clogged with debris.

“We need direction. Do we have a way of working on private property?” Nicolo asked.

Andreas said the stormwater runoff is a continuing problem. “It’s all [the stormwater] trying to get from the mountain [Lehigh Mountain, north of East Susquehanna Street] to Trout Creek.”

Salisbury Township Solicitor Atty. John W. Ashley cautioned about making a change in stormwater control that might affect other property owners. “No pun intended, you could cause a ripple effect,” Ashley said.

“Do we have an easement?” township Commissioner Debra Brinton asked.

“Yes,” Nicolo said.

“The billboard company doesn’t want to have anything to do with it,” Nicolo added.

It was pointed out the billboard company probably rents the location from the property owner.

It was decided by consensus of the commissioners and at the recommendation of board of commissioners President James A. Brown that Nicolo would continue to review the matter.