MOOSIC, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local borough has a plan to help protect its residents from potential flooding.
It involves something that’s been around for a quarter-century. But some residents claim it doesn’t address the real flood problem and causes yet another hardship.
The demonstration several Moosic residents watched Tuesday along Route 502 near the I-81 junction was a flood gate being put into place. It’s located near the banks of Spring Brook and has never been used since arriving in the 1990s. The borough says it will use the flood gate instead of sandbags in the future for high water events.
“This is a good thing. Not a bad thing. I guess in the past it had a bad reputation of holding back water,” explained Moosic Borough Administrator Jane Sterling.
“This is only a band-aid where you need sutures,” said Ken West, Water Street Resident.
West lives on Water Street in the borough’s Spike Island section. He claims groundwater routinely floods his and other neighbors’ basements when the creek runs high and that what’s needed is concrete creek walls.
“A canal. They have it from the lower part of Moosic to 200 yards right around this turn,” said West.
But no canal extension is in the offing. Another issue? The creek bed which West claims is overrun with debris because it’s not maintained.
“I think it’s been eight years since the last people ever dredged this,” West said.
He and some others claim the flood gate causes another problem.
Neighbors say their concern is if the flood gate is put into use, up here on the higher end of Route 502 there is also potential for flooding. And if that happens, they fear they could become trapped.
“If they put this flood gate up, ambulances, fire departments, they’re not going to be able to get to us. Our only exit is the airport road and that’s blocked off,” said Darlene Benjamin, Water Street resident.
“Nobody should be blocked off. You could probably, it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t work like that,” Sterling said.
She says the borough would evacuate homes and use an emergency route before that happens. What West wants is much more than a flood gate.
“This being installed is saying, yes, you do have a water problem. Well then, let’s fix it,” West said.
The Moosic Borough Administrator says residents should raise any concerns with the borough’s emergency management director.