Is an inflatable dam the solution in West Pittston?


West Pittston is the only borough in the Wyoming Valley, on that side of the river, without protection against the Susquehanna River.

Borough officials are trying to figure out whether they’ll use part of a $200,000 dollar feasibility study of the river to figure out if an inflatable dam could help prevent homes in the borough from flooding.

Instead of placing the inflatable dam along the banks of the Susquehanna River, experts say they would actually place it in the middle of Susquehanna Avenue.

After a more than 20 year study, the federal government denied West Pittston $53 million dollars to build a levee.

And after years of evacuating and flooding, residents here are desperately looking for a solution.

“Someone with a paper and pen and a calculator has figured out that our lives and our homes and where we live is not cost effective enough, is not important enough for them to make that extra effort to save and that is very disheartening,” said West Pittston resident Virginia Crowley.

Adam Wagner is the company’s CEO and says the concept is simple.

He says his solution is much cheaper than a 53 million dollar levee.

“I gave a quote of around $800,000 dollars,” Wagner said.

West Pittston resident Bob Trusavage initiated contact with Wagner’s coming after this last winter’s unprecedented ice jam and is hopeful borough council will consider the inflatable dam as a long needed solution.

“Something is better than nothing and I believe in it. It’s proven technology,” Trusavage said.

Some residents are concerned about the height of the inflatable dam. The highest model the company can produce is under 9 feet.

Many are fearful this solution many not withstand the mighty Susquehanna.

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