Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Citizen's Responsibility

What is a citizen's responsibility ? Responsibility is: to sound an alarm when, as in colonial days, the community faces eminent danger. I've spent the greater part of my adult life engaged in some aspect of public service, something I'll never regret. History will be the final arbiter as to whether I made a difference in the lives of citizens living in this borough, named Pottstown.

As a citizen, I wish to sound an alarm !

The borough must oversee the dredging and complete elimination of the silt islands now anchored in place with four foot tall vegetation that clogs up the west channel of Manatawny Creek, a creek that must flow under the King Street bridge, to drain waters from its upstream drainage basin.

Yes 1972 was caused mainly by the flooding of the Schuylkill River which has been alleviated by holding upstream flood waters in the Blue Marsh Impounding Lake. More likely today, the silt island upstream, under, and downstream of the King Street Bridge will cause flooding of Memorial Park ball fields, the island, and the new wading park. Along with them, many homes and businesses in close proximity to the Manatawny Creek have an all likelihood of flooding.

The creek bed is the only course creek water has to flow in that drains the entire upstream drainage area. Engineers designed the bridge to accommodate this estimated total flow. The King Street Bridge was designed to have two channels flowing under it, a finite gross amount of space to accommodate ordinary flows with enough space left over to take care of extreme rain events.

We live in changing times when normal rain events are exceeding experts' estimates by a long shot. Couple this phenomenon with a reduction in space that water has to free flow under the bridge, because of the silt islands full of vegetation, and a flood is its to be expected.

The tragedy is that a major flood could be avoided if town fathers demanded county officials take proper action. Years ago the county and the River Keeper we're instrumental in taking out the dam below High Street claiming no ill effects would come of its loss. Well, when in the dam was in, it caused slack water to occur far up stream from the bridge where silt deposited, not at it, as it does today.

I implore town officials take immediate action to study the existing condition of the Manatawny Creek and to develop an action plan, not only eliminate these islands but, if possible, eliminate the reason that islands build up in the first place. This is my "Citizen's Alarm" ! Please take action !

Ronald C. Downie

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