Saturday, July 12, 2014

Forum to address W. Pittston rebuilding concerns

Agencies expected to deliver updates on flood-related programs, mitigation processes.

June 26. 2013 2:34AM

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WEST PITTSTON — Representatives from area, state and federal agencies will be on hand tonight to answer questions and help residents learn more about how to rebuild from the devastating flood of 2011.

The impact of changes made to insurance plans and flood maps of West Pittston also will be discussed.

It’s been nearly 20 months since the Susquehanna River overflowed and caused extensive damage to more than 800 borough homes. Many people are still struggling to rebuild; meanwhile, there is confusion and concern over changes in the federal insurance program and in flood zone maps that were altered last year.

Consequently, the borough and West Pittston Tomorrow have organized an informational forum for 7 tonight at Wyoming Area High School, 20 Memorial St., Exeter.

“This is a critical meeting for all West Pittston residents, whether flooded or not,” said Judy Aita, president of the nonprofit West Pittston Tomorrow.

The levee system — which extends south from Wyoming to Edwardsville, also protecting Plymouth — is blamed by many residents for the increases in flood events in the borough. Representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers will be on hand tonight to answer questions about the levee system. The borough has filed a request with that group to conduct a levee study or to look into other flood mitigation options.

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the borough and the state will discuss proactive measures that residents can take to minimize flood risk and how the changes to flood insurance programs and flood maps will impact borough property owners. “It’s complicated and the more one learns about it, the more questions arise,” Aita said.

To complicate matters even more, FEMA placed the borough on probation with the National Flood Insurance Program. “There’s a lot of things about the flood insurance program people just don’t understand,” Aita said.

Though the event is organized by West Pittston-based groups, residents from any community impacted by flooding or the changes in the flood insurance program are encouraged to attend, Aita said.

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