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County to present findings on Wiltondale-Overbrook flooding

Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, who represents the Towson area, says that “institutions of higher learning are relatively recession-proof," which is good for local businesses.
Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, who represents the Towson area, says that “institutions of higher learning are relatively recession-proof," which is good for local businesses.(File photo)

Kristin Kluga has lived on Worthington Road for most of her 42 years, and said her basement and property near the Herring Run Stream has flooded for as long as she can remember.

Three years ago, Kluga and other residents in the Wiltondale-Overbrook neighborhood asked Baltimore County officials to address the flooding problems, and the county hired McCormick Taylor, an engineering consultant, to conduct a $100,000 study.

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"We've been very anxious to find out what's going on," Kluga said.

On April 21, they will know more. The county department of Public Works is scheduled to hold an informational meeting from 6-8 p.m., at the Jefferson Building, 105 W. Chesapeake Ave., to present the findings of the 2,300-page study and possible options for addressing the problems.

Public Works officials declined to share the findings or possible solutions with the Towson Times until they make their presentation to the residents. Only then does the study become "final," said Steve Walsh, director of the Bureau of Engineering and Construction.

Nearly 20 houses near the stream have experienced substantial flooding over the years, Kluga said.

"My basement has flooded I can't count how many times," taking in as much as 2 feet of water, she said. The problem has eased since her family installed sump pumps and French drains, waterproofed the walls and laid a new floor, she said.

But a permanent fix has been elusive, and the county has been slow to address the issue, despite complaints by residents for at least a decade, Kluga said.

"They've been dealing with this for many years," said County Councilman David Marks, who represents the area. "This has been a recurring problem that goes back decades. The community is looking forward to having some options."

"It's sort of a longstanding issue," Walsh said. He said residents have complained to the county for 20 years, but until now, "Nothing has come of the complaints."

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In an interview Monday and in a presentation that she made to the county in a Capital Improvement Program citizens input meeting in 2012, Kluga said the main problem is that Herring Run Stream moves through the neighborhood in two directions and converges at a narrow culvert, or tunnel, under Stevenson Lane at the Country Club of Maryland. She said flash flooding occurs during heavy rains and the culvert is too small to handle it, causing backups.

Water damage has taken a toll on a bridge at the end of Worthington Road over the stream that connects two houses, causing a bridge abutment to collapse. Also, a gas pipe near the bridge has been exposed, she said.

Flooding has damaged houses, cars, sheds and garages, eroded stream banks and washed away trash, recycling and small equipment, she said.

The bridge, a main walking route for students and other residents to access Towson High School, Stoneleigh Elementary and the Wiltondale pool and park, has been declared by the county to be "undriveable," she said.

Kluga wants the bridge repaired, the culvert widened and the banks restored, but doesn't know what the county has in mind, because officials won't say until the meeting.

"They're going to present the study to us and hopefully give us some solutions," she said.

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Walsh said the April 21 meeting will be a continuation of the 2012 CIP input meeting with residents.

"They lobbied the county to hire a consultant to engage in a study, and that's what we've done," he said.

"We shall see what they come up with," said Kluga.

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