CLEARFIELD – Residents of Clearfield heard specifics about an upcoming flood control project.
At a special meeting Thursday, Mark Malach of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Waterways and Anthony Miller of Stiffler, McGraw and Associates Inc., discussed the Stinky Run Flood Protection Project.
Malach said the 1936 Flood Control Act authorizes DEP to design and construct flood control works within stream channels of the state. These are structural solutions only. They are not authorized to construct buyouts.
In 1994, Clearfield Borough had severe flooding and asked DEP to conduct a feasibility study. By 2000, DEP completed the feasibility study and recommended a project for the borough and the council passed a resolution agreeing to become the project sponsor in 2001.
In 2009, DEP requested the state Department of General Services to hire a consultant to design the project and Stiffler, McGraw and Associates Inc., was selected to do the design.
However, last June, the borough again experienced a major flooding event.
Malach said the Department of General Services is the funding agency and contract administrator for the project, DEP is the program agency and will issue the DEP permit, Stiffler, McGraw and Associates Inc., are the design professionals and the borough is the project sponsor.
He said the DGS must request the budget office to release funding for the designs, conduct legal reviews and approvals of all land acquisition and conveyance documents, review and approve construction plans and specifications, request funding for construction and will bid, award and administer the construction contract.
DEP will provide engineering review and guidance to Stiffler, McGraw and Associates Inc., issue permits, review the borough’s land acquisition documents, assist the borough in coordinating major utility relocations, provide construction inspection services during the project, transfer permits to the borough after the project is finished, issue operation and maintenance manuals to the borough and conduct the annual yearly inspections.
Malach said Stiffler, McGraw and Associates Inc., will be responsible for designing the project, developing the contract drawings, specifications and obtaining all permits and approvals, assisting the borough in coordinating major utility relocations, developing land acquisition documents for the borough and providing engineering and construction management services during construction.
The borough will execute the sponsorship agreement with DEP, fund the borough’s costs for the project (easements, utility relocations, road and sidewalk work and the license fee for the railroad crossing), obtain easements for construction and maintenance, provide the $15,000 for DEP’s performance security, establish a maintenance escrow account and maintain a $5,000 balance in the account, operate and maintain the completed project and participate in the annual inspections.
Malach said flood control projects are authorized and funded by the state. No federal funding project sponsors are contributors. The Stinky Run project will cost about $3.3 million.
He said the borough will need to secure permanent easements, temporary easements and sponsor adjustments. He said if all goes well with the easements, the contract for the project can be bid Jan. 1, 2020 and construction will take place April 2020 through April 2021.
Anthony Miller of Stiffler, McGraw and Associates Inc., said the project will start above where the existing pipes are on Stinky Run. He said they are starting above the existing area to improve trash removal and to provide better hydraulic flow.
Miller said the project will start near Reighard Street in Lawrence Township, through a residential area down Evans Avenue from Woodland Road to Bigler Avenue. The project will then cross Route 322, move around the “mini-storage” and the reclaimed factory site, across the railroad yard and into the river.
He said the existing system will remain in place to continue to provide stormwater removal for the residents in the East End area, but the new system will greatly reduce the amount of water going through that system. He said the new system will include 1,063 feet of precast concrete box culvert, 1,584 feet of 60-inch corrugated plastic pipe, 14 precast concrete manholes and a double trash rack system at the entrance.
Miller said the new trash rack system will allow the water to flow through, but the rack will be set at an angle to allow trash and debris to flow away from the mouth of the culvert. He said the present system is set directly in front of the pipe, which often clogs because the debris and trash have nowhere to go.
Malach said once the borough executes the sponsorship agreement, Stiffler, McGraw and Associates Inc., will begin preparing the easement drafts and finalizing the construction drawings.
Then they must obtain the project permits and other approvals needed for the project. The borough must then obtain the signatures on the easements. Then DEP must issue environmental permits and assist DGS in reviewing the construction and contract documents. Only after the project has been reviewed and all easements and contract documents are approved, can the bid dates be set.
Malach said getting the signatures on the easements will be imperative to the project. Borough Operations Manager Leslie Stott said there were 31 easements needed from the residents, but one of the problems is getting the contracts from the corporate offices of the railroad company. She said the local offices have been “exceptional” to work with, but the corporate offices are located out of the state.
Solicitor F. Cortez Bell III said for the residents, the borough will hold “signing sessions” where the residents can speak with representatives of council, DEP and other agencies involved in the project to answer any questions and to sign the easements. He said the borough held similar sessions during the sanitary sewer project with great success.