Inflatable dam company will present at West Pittston council meeting

By Bill O’Boyle - boboyle@timesleader.com
This is what an inflatable dam — such as the one being proposed in West Pittston — looks like. Borough council will hear from a company on the inflatable dam concept at its meeting April 3. -

WEST PITTSTON — Next week’s meeting on a plan to avoid future flooding in West Pittston is on schedule, and the company with the possible inflatable solution will demonstrate the system.

West Pittston resident and flood victim Bob Trusavage said a presentation will be made at borough council’s April 3 meeting on an inflatable dam concept that could protect the flood-ravaged town at a far lower cost than building a levee.

Trusavage said the company is called Floodblock, a division of Flood Control Barriers LLC of Long Island, N.Y. A flyer distributed by Trusavage contained the wrong name of the company — Dam-It.com.

The council meeting will start at 6:30 p.m.

Adam Wagner, CEO of Floodblock, said he will bring a sample of the tubing used in the system and inflate it with air. He said the system proposed for West Pittston would be about 1.3 miles long and filled first with air during a flood emergency and then filled with water from the Susquehanna River when in place.

Wagner will arrive in West Pittston around 3 p.m. April 3 to tour the area along Susquehanna River with Trusavage.

“We want to look at the lay of the land,” Wagner said. “Then we will show everyone how we can protect their homes, their assets and their businesses. We know this works and with very little seepage.”

Trusavage wants to offer the town an alternative to building a levee system that would cost millions, reporting the cost of the Floodblock system would be under $1 million.

Mayor Tom Blaskiewicz and flood protection consultant Jim Brozena, who also lives in the borough, said Monday they are interested in learning more about the idea, but more study and analysis must be done before any decision is made.

Trusavage lives on Susquehanna Avenue and has experienced flooding before, causing him to have his home elevated 12.5 feet.

“My house is virtually flood-proof,” Trusavage said. “I want to bring this idea to the town so all the people can be protected.”

Trusavage had posted flyers around West Pittston informing residents of the meeting next week, but took them down Tuesday because he was ordered by the borough council to remove them.

“I was tired of being screamed at,” he said.

Wagner said it would take about eight hours to deploy the system, with six to eight people needed to complete the job. “If they were to use sandbags, it would take weeks to get the same effect,” he said.

Wagner said part of his firm’s package would include training on how to deploy the system. He said fresh water is usually used, but for a system as long as the one needed in West Pittston, river water is probably the only alternative.

Asked about concerns on how other unprotected areas might be impacted by West Pittston using the system, Wagner said he wouldn’t expect any water to back up and the flow would not be affected.

“This solution has saved towns all over Europe,” Wagner said. “But in America, the mentality toward flood control is more reactive than proactive.”

This is what an inflatable dam — such as the one being proposed in West Pittston — looks like. Borough council will hear from a company on the inflatable dam concept at its meeting April 3.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_InflatableDam.cropped.cmyk_.jpgThis is what an inflatable dam — such as the one being proposed in West Pittston — looks like. Borough council will hear from a company on the inflatable dam concept at its meeting April 3.

By Bill O’Boyle

boboyle@timesleader.com

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.