WEST PITTSTON -- The threat of flooding caused by the ice jams had a community in Luzerne County worried.
West Pittston sits just north of the levee that protects other communities.
The Army Corps of Engineers recently finished a preliminary study of extending the Susquehanna levee north to West Pittston. The results are not what most homeowners in town wanted to hear.
Michael Branley's house sits just across Susquehanna Avenue, with a view of the Susquehanna River.
"It's beautiful. It's where you want to be," Branley said.
On Wednesday, it didn't seem so beautiful. Some of Branley's neighbors had to be evacuated from their homes. Ice jams threatened to flood part of West Pittston.
"If we were offered a levee, I think virtually every resident would support that decision and look forward to the safety it would bring."
After the flooding from Hurricane Agnes in 1972, people in West Pittston wanted the levee extended north to protect their homes, but a recent Army Corps of Engineers preliminary study finds a levee would cost $51 million.
"There are not sufficient benefits to warrant federal interest in the continuation of a feasibility study. The Corps of Engineers recommends that the West Pittston Flood Management Study be terminated," the Army Corps of Engineers recommended in a statement.
Joe Valenti lives three blocks away from the Susquehanna.
"We know what that river's like. We've been through it countless times. So is it fair? Life isn't fair, and that's the risk you take," Valenti said.
You can see frozen high-water marks on the front lawns along Susquehanna Avenue in West Pittston. And they point up another concern -- flood insurance.
"A levee would put us in an entirely different zone, and make flood insurance affordable for everyone," Branley said.
After the floods of 2011, West Pittston's flood zone expanded. It required more homeowners to buy flood insurance where premiums continue to rise. And Branley fears the cost of insuring a home in the flood zone will become too expensive.
"It's more than problematic. It's something that we just don't see being able to endure."
Branley hopes the federal government would offer more cost-effective ways of protecting homes near the river, one of which would include money to raise houses to higher levels.
Most people in West Pittston now realize it is unlikely a protective levee will ever be extended.