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Residents sue over stormwater problems

November 30, 1999|By JENNIFER FITCH and DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, PA.

The stormwater system that was a hot topic at last Wednesday's Waynesboro Borough Council meeting also has the municipality involved in a lawsuit.

Earlier this summer, Maple Street residents Steven and Susan Bumbaugh and Carroll and Robyn Davis, along with Russell Weikert of Cemetery Avenue, sued the Borough of Waynesboro.

"Due to the Defendant's negligent management and/or construction of the storm-water management system, stormwater has routinely collected on the Plaintiffs' properties, causing extensive damage to the Plaintiffs' homes and personal possessions," the complaint states.

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The Bumbaughs, Davises and Weikert argue that fixing damage from the June 24, 2006, flooding alone "will exceed the $50,000 arbitration threshold in Franklin County."

Pictures from that event show standing water in the Bumbaughs' yard, at levels that reached 8 feet, they said in previous interviews with The Herald-Mail.

"Defendant had actual notice of the risk since 1985, at which time Dennis E. Black Engineering Inc. advised the Defendant of the inadequate design flow capacity and proposed remedies," the complaint states.

The residents reference a September 2004 letter in which engineers said corrugated pipes attached to the system reduced flow capacity.

The recommendations for improvements then totaled $450,000.

Despite the warning, the suit states, the borough "failed to take any significant steps to correct the problem."

Waynesboro's insurance provider has been looking into the lawsuit, Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said Friday.

During the June 2006 flooding, two-thirds of the stormwater in the Borough of Waynesboro was sent through two problematic 5-by-12 concrete culverts and three 48-inch pipes in the area of South Church Street, Maple Street and Cemetery Avenue, Director of Borough Engineering Kevin Grubbs previously told The Herald-Mail.

The borough council president on Wednesday criticized Dennis E. Black Engineering for failing to meet a September deadline in updating its stormwater study. It will be at least two months before recommendations and cost estimates are prepared, a representative of the firm said.

Watertight manholes and backflow preventers have provided temporary fixes until the study is done.

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