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From SEDA-Council of Governments
A major industry and employer in Bloomsburg is now protected from flooding, thanks to the Columbia County Flood Risk Management project. An Aug. 5 inspection of the U-shaped flood wall that surrounds Autoneum North America Inc. and the former Windsor Foods site showed that both places would be protected if there was a flood. With over 700 employees, Autoneum is the largest private employer in Columbia County. While the former Windsor Foods site is vacant, the building is now protected to maintain its potential for reuse, industrial development, and local employment. The $30 million project is on-budget and is 95 percent complete with full completion expected by November, said Glenda Ruch, who oversees the project for SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) on behalf of Columbia County.
“It’s hard to believe that construction of the project started in March 2015 with the official groundbreaking in April, and we are now so close to completion,” Ruch said. “Achieving this project milestone is a tremendous accomplishment.” While work will continue on the project over the next few months, most of the major construction components have been completed or are almost done. Some of the remaining work includes the installation of lighting on the H-pile wall behind the fairgrounds grandstand, finalizing the storm water and sanitary sewer pump stations, installation of fencing, seeding, and paving. The completed flood wall is about 1 mile long and up to 16 feet high. The height is based on the highest flood on record ─ Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. The wall is 1.5 feet above that storm’s level.
The system consists of three types of flood protection. H-piles with pre-cast concrete panels inserted are used near Autoneum with openings in the wall and closures for high water situations. Mechanically stabilized earthen levees have been constructed along Schley and West 11th streets, along with conventional earthen levees. There will be eight closure structures in the system. To remove water away from the flood wall, a pump station for storm water was built along Snyder’s Run near Autoneum. Three pump stations for sanitary sewage also were built on Scott and West 11th streets.