Avalon frustrated with lack of response from Bellevue

Frustrated with the lack of response by Bellevue officials, Avalon officials say they will do whatever it takes to get the neighboring borough to address a destructive and dangerous situation at West Bellevue Station.

Massive amounts of water from Bellevue streets and properties have been running off into the area along South Starr Avenue where, just a couple years ago, the two boroughs spent more than $200,000 (including grant funds) to repair a broken sanitary sewer line. That line is being undermined by the stormwater flow from the Bellevue hillside, Avalon officials say.

Avalon assistant manager Lorraine Makatura said at Tuesday’s Avalon Council meeting that at one point, you can actually reach completely underneath the sanitary sewer line because its base has been washed away.

Bellevue previously attempted to control some of the stormwater flow by dumping asphalt millings in the area, which has created another problem as the petroleum-based product is washed into the Ohio River in violation of environmental laws.

Avalon has been documenting the erosion for months, and has invited Bellevue officials to view photos and videos. No Bellevue official has taken advantage of that invitation, according to Avalon borough manager Harry Dilmore, who said he was told that Bellevue had “other priorities” right now. Makatura said that Bellevue Council president Mark Helbling and council member Kathy Coder were told about the West Bellevue Station problem, still with no action taken by Bellevue.

A new concern has arisen with recent downpours. Avalon Council member Patrick Narcisi said that the most recent photos of the area indicate that youths are hanging out there.

“If they get caught there during a rain storm, they’re going to have a problem,” agreed council member William Pascale.

Makatura said that Avalon’s public works supervisor had gone into Bellevue’s manhole and found that the downstream pipe was rusted and clogged with debris. Engineer Mark Scally said that the situation is further complicated by a design flaw that has a larger pipe going into the smaller, clogged pipe.

Avalon officials decided to have the borough engineer write a letter to Bellevue outlining the problem and requesting action within a specific period of time. If that fails to get Bellevue’s attention, the matter will be turned over to Avalon’s solicitor, and complaints could be filed with administrative agencies.

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