State Agencies Tour Flood Areas

GAMBLE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- In this very rainy year, flash flooding has devastated many parts of our area including north-central Pennsylvania.

Lawmakers and state and local agencies took a tour of a community hard hit this past summer in Lycoming County.

The tour on Wednesday was about getting these state and local agencies together to reignite discussion about preventing future flooding.

State Senator Gene Yaw met with members of state agencies including the Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT, and the Fish and Boat Commission, just outside of Montoursville.

They're here in hopes of finding a solution to the constant flooding and the damage left to roads and private property.

"There are areas where we spent millions of dollars to repair the road, where we could have spent maybe a couple hundred thousand and clean the stream out and saved the road," said Yaw.

Just this year, Wallis Run and the Loyalsock Creek in Gamble Township spilled over their banks several times.

"As banks get eroded, big trees come down, and they criss-cross and cause log jams. The creeks get forced to go some other direction than where they were. There's really no funding available to get it the creeks and clean them out, particularly if it's on private property," said State Rep. Garth Everett, (R) 84th District.

Everett would like to see agencies work together to make it easier and less expensive for private landowners who want to clean out streams on their property. That could take changing the law.

A bridge over Wallis Run was rebuilt last year after it was destroyed by floodwaters in 2016. When the bridge collapsed, it also damaged a Sunoco gas pipeline underneath it.

"They built it really good this time. I think we can withstand, well at least until the next big flood," said Fred Weiser.

Weiser has lived in Gamble Township for decades and hearing several state agencies took a tour of his community brings him hope.

"I think that's a good idea. Plan ahead so we can prevent these things from happening in the future," Weiser said.

"We should be able to figure out a way with the agencies working together to solve a problem and save the taxpayers a lot of money I would think," Yaw said.

With these state agencies working together, Senator Yaw's office says they would like to see the streams and creeks cleared within the next five to 10 years.