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Officials: DEP may not help with Grafius Run

The state Department of Environmental Protection may not fund a flood-risk project for Grafius Run.

“It doesn’t look like DEP will upgrade Grafius Run,” Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said on Monday.

Calculations of losses of nearly 300 residents who filled out a survey, some after getting a knock on the door asking them to put down estimate flood-related losses over the past 10 years, isn’t rising to a level the state requires, Campana said.

DEP officials out of Harrisburg headquarters provided Williamsport Sun-Gazette with an update late Monday.

“A DEP flood damage inventory is needed to determine the economic justification for a flood mitigation project,” said Elizabeth Rementer, a department spokeswoman.

The department continues to seek

information from Penn Strategies Inc., the city economic development consulting working on the issue, Rementer said.

Penn Strategies has provided damage assessment forms and the department is waiting on a tax map to delineate the extent of the damages, she said.

“We have also pointed Penn Strategies to the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s (natural gas impact) Act 13 grant program as another possible source of funding,” Rementer said.

“It’s not the end of the review by DEP and there may be other means of funding projects than having the department fund this one,” said Jason Fitzgerald, president of Penn Strategies, the city economic development consultant on the project.

“We may be able to get the department to put the project in a five-year capital budget plan,” Fitzgerald said.

The city should also pursue other funding streams, he said, adding they include a combination of state Department of Community and Economic Development funding, through a program known as H20PA and Commonweath Financing Authority and its flood mitigation program funds, he said.

In a recent a thunderstorm Thursday, plastic toys, foam and pieces of lumber washed downstream from Loyalsock Township.

The mess caused city officials to place a dumpster near Highland Terrace for residents to throw away their flood-related trash.

The one storm’s rainfall recorded up to 4 inches in 30 minutes, according to the National Weather Service in State College.

“It’s too much volume too quickly for the system to handle,” said Adam Winder, general manager of city streets and parks department.

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