Flooding hits city’s south end

STEUBENVILLE – Scott Smith looked out his window Friday and saw a river flowing down the hillside directly toward his Lincoln Avenue home.

“It was coming straight down the hill at the height of the storm. By the time I was able to divert the stream my basement was full of water,” related Smith.

“I literally had to swim across the basement so I could reach the power box and shut it off. The water was up to my chin and it was a little scary for a few minutes down there,” he related while he watched city firefighters pump the water out of his basement.

Assistant Fire Chief Frank DeLeonardis said water was flowing down Coal Hill Road, “like a river” when we arrived on Lincoln Avenue. Then we saw manhole covers popping up in the air from the force of the water hitting the sewers. It was bad for a few minutes but I called the wastewater department and they were down here immediately.”

“There was a lot of water coming down the street from the hill above the street,” added DeLeonardis.

Acting Wastewater Superintendant Chuck Murphy said he had reports of manhole covers on Sinclair Avenue and Coal Hill Road being pushed up by the amount of rainfall that fell Friday afternoon.

“We had a trash rack in the Coal Hill creek was had been cleaned recently. The rack was plugged with debris by the storm which creates problems. The water was starting to flow over the rack. We also had a trash rack plugged at the bottom of Coal Hill,” said Murphy.

Murphy said he had been working at the wastewater treatment plant with a new operator when the storm hit.

“So I stayed here to make sure that plant was handling the large amount of rain water that hit us and sent our foremen to check on the manhole covers pushed onto the street. We have everything under control at this point but we know more rain is expected this weekend so we will be monitoring the weather forecasts and our system very carefully. We will also be checking our lift stations to make sure the storm today and the rest of the weekend , ” explained Murphy.

“There was mud and debris on Coal Hill but I understand the farm owner at the top of the hill went out with his tractor to scrape the mud off the roadway,” said Murphy.

Mark Nelson said it was actually his son Gabe who drove their tractor.

“We were out there about 90 minutes trying to be neighborly and clean the road. There are several piles of mud on the side of the road but we wanted to make sure the vehicles could get through. It was no big deal. We just were trying to help a little because that rain really came down hard,” stated Nelson.