Grafius Run survey meshes with reality of summer storms

Williamsport officials have begun to distribute a survey door-to-door asking residents for damage assessments caused by Grafius Run floods over the past 10 years.

Given the rash of torrential rain storms in recent weeks, the timing could not be better.

We suspect some of the residents surveyed probably have damage to report that is very fresh in their minds.

And two residents recently spoke of water and waste system overflows that infiltrated their homes during flooding in 2016 of Grafius Run, which goes beneath the ground in the north end of the city.

Taking the temperature of Grafius Run is not difficult. The simple fact is that, during heavy storms, it is asked to handle more water than its narrow tributary is set up to handle.

The result is overflows everywhere, which backs up catch basins and causes a variety of related problems.

Estimates are that 296 properties are impacted by the problems.

Sewer system infiltration strikes us as being among the worst, but for residents of that area, we can’t imagine any of the problems are minor. And all of them require fixes beyond the means of homeowners.

Moreover, the best solution to the fixes is a municipal one that addresses the root cause of the problem – flooding of that entire section of Williamsport during storms.

We urge residents to take the survey seriously and equip surveyors with facts that will allow a presentation by the city’s financial consultants and state lawmakers that will garner the city the kind of state grant dollars needed to solve the problem.

When all the engineering fixes are determined and the estimated costs are plugged in, we expect an expensive project.

That’s understandable.

And it’s OK, as long as the result is abatement of the residential flooding that has been far too routine in that residential section of Williamsport for far too long.

Every penny of the city’s revenue stream from real estate taxes is needed to support the city’s budget. With a swath of 296 properties affected by damaging flooding, the revenue erosion that would result if the Grafius Run problem is not solved is a harsh reality.

Solutions are overdue.

They require the correct factual information, effective persuasion by city consultants and state representatives and a project that makes permanent engineering sense.

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