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Cities Try To Stay Ahead of Flooding Concerns

City of Wheeling crews clear snow from storm sewer catch basins in the Center Market section of Wheeling last week. (Photo by Scott McCloskey)

WHEELING — As heavy piles of snow along city roads and sidewalks begin to fade from rain and rising temperatures, worries about flooding can rise. The Ohio Valley got a shower Monday and local temperatures are expected to reach the 40s and even 50 this week.

City public works crews, however, administer some preventive medicine to help keep flood waters away. Routine snow removal maintenance helps the drainage process in both Wheeling and Moundsville.

Public Works Director Russell “Rusty” Jebbia said anytime the area receives a large snowfall in over a short span, city employees not only clear public streets and sidewalks, they also do their best to clear the openings to storm sewers around different areas of the city — especially in areas with potential drainage issues.

“The end of last week, we had crews out clearing the openings to catch basins and drop inlets along the streets,” Jebbia commented. He said street crews were working in the downtown area, Center Market, and other sections of Wheeling trying their best to clear snow from those drop inlets and catch basin areas.

Traditionally speaking, Jebbia said anytime the city has this amount of snow on the ground, once they get caught up with all the regular snow removal tasks they try to make sure all the catch basins are open.

“We just have to make sure the water can get out to the creek and the river and whatever streams we have in the neighborhoods so there won’t be any water ponding on the roads and that type of thing,” Jebbia added.

Moundsville City Manager Rick Healy said while most of Moundsville’s city storm sewer inlets are cleared of snow during the routine snow removal process along its streets, there aren’t really any extra precautions taken to move heavy amounts of snow to other locations — unless they run into a problem.

“When we have a lot of snow it’s difficult to find a place to put it,” Healy said. “We tend to do our best when we keep it plowed at corners. In a lot of cases, that’s where a lot of storm sewers are located, so as the water melts it goes into the storm sewers.

He said the city water department cleans the storm sewers “on a regular basis.”

“We don’t do anything specific unless we have an issue,” Healy said. “Now if we get a call or we know there is somewhere where water is backing up, we can send somebody out to take care of it. But, for the most part, we just let nature take its course and let the snow melt.”

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