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City to Study Stormwater Collection

City to Study Stormwater Collection
The City of Allentown is going to expedite the start of an engineering study to get to the bottom of the issue of flooding in portions of the West End.

Mayor Ed Pawlowski has decided to forego the standard lengthy procurement process of issuing a Request for Proposals, and based on the justification of the immediacy of the situation and the unknown forces of Mother Nature, the Department of Public Works and the Engineering Bureau will review the expertise of qualified firms, including their experience in analyzing municipal storm water systems, and retain one to tackle the project on an emergency basis.

City staff met collectively with residents last month to learn of their concerns after an intense 40 minute storm on Thursday, August 29 resulted in widespread street flooding. Since then the city has taken significant actions to address this complicated hydrologic/hydraulic drainage issue. Those actions have included increased cleaning of inlets in the West End, more aggressive leaf collection, and comprehensive videoing and monitoring of the storm water system.

“We’re going to meet this issue head-on and try to affect some positive results as quickly as possible,” said Pawlowski. “The study should identify all the contributors to the problem and develop some solutions. We want to solve the problem once and for all.”

The city will commission an hydrologic/hydraulic engineering study to develop recommendations to upgrade and improve what is known as the Livingston Watershed Stormwater Collection system. The work is expected to include:
• Analyze watersheds, starting with areas having significant exposure to residential flooding;
• Model 2, 10, 25, and 100-year design storms to determine runoff rates and volumes, water surface profiles, channel velocities and inundated/affected areas;
• Develop viable options for addressing identified flooding problems and issues associated with those options (regulatory, physical, property ownership, etc.); and
• Provide analysis of the risk and the reduction of risk due to the mitigation project.

The Livingston Watershed is comprised of an area of some 4.6 square miles with 23.8 miles of drainage conduits.

Pawlowski has charged city Public Works Director Rich Young with expediting this review and analysis with the aim of implementing corrective actions as soon as possible.

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