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Gilberton officials take step towards legal liability against PennDOT

The borough is seeking compensation for recent flooding.

GILBERTON, Pa. — The borough council in Gilberton held a meeting with residents after the Schuylkill County community was left heavily damaged after days of flooding.

The borough said it is taking action to hold PennDOT accountable for at least part of the flooding due to a bridge construction problem.

“To start this process right now towards PennDOT,” said Gilberton Mayor Mary Lou Hannon.

Hannon told the borough council to begin taking action against PennDOT for the flood that lasted for days.

Many people in Gilberton suspect that a bridge construction project caused the water of Mahanoy Creek to fill Main Street when heavy rain fell in the borough earlier this month.

The first step for the borough now is to get a legal liability form from PennDOT and send it in.

“It's how you start your claim against PennDOT. For those of you who have a lawyer should tell your lawyer that,” said borough solicitor Paul Domalakes.

Borough officials say Gilberton needs a lot of financial help to recover from the flooding and it needs that help as soon as possible.

“This disaster doesn't fall neatly within a disaster that's going to get funding from somewhere. We're going to have to be imaginative, be creative to find funding for this,” said Domalakes.

Six pumps were brought in from New Jersey after the flood destroyed the borough's permanent pumping system.

These pumps are now how Gilberton can move water. The pumps are staying until the borough's own pumping system can be replaced.

The borough hopes that it can get money from PennDOT and other sources to cover the cost of updating and replacing the pumping system so another flood like this doesn't happen again.

“Now we know a lot more water can come at a quicker rate, so we have to bring it up to standards,” said council member Mike Van Allen.

The borough says it still doesn't know why so much water continued to come into Gilberton, despite having several agencies inspecting the creek.

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