Watch CBS News

North Hills woman says a pipe is causing a landslide, flooding in her backyard

North Hills woman says a pipe is causing landslide, flooding in her backyard
North Hills woman says a pipe is causing landslide, flooding in her backyard 03:42

ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) -- A North Hills woman holds her breath when a big storm rolls through. 

She says a pipe that doesn't belong to her is causing a backyard landslide and flooding out of her home.

She called KDKA Investigates because no one was giving her answers, and with another storm on the way, she was fearful of what could happen next.

It's hard to decide what to look at in Donna Schwartzbauer's backyard. There's a river flowing from her yard with an active landslide, and her patio's underwater.

"Oh, I was devastated," said Schwartzbauer. "Here we go again, here we go again."

Water cascades down a hillside behind her home every time it storms, and she's sick of it.

"It's wiping out my sump pump, for the fact that a sump pump can't handle a river going through it, and that's what it was doing."

As soon as her backyard along Connie Drive started sliding, she contacted Ross Township for help, eventually hiring an engineer who believes a broken pipe is to blame. He thinks the pipe sits near the Parkway North at the top of her hillside. 

"Yeah, the highway is up there, so when the highway gets flooded, the water is not going through the pipe because the pipe's broke," said Schwartzbauer. "And it's not diverting it. It's diverting it right down to my property. Nobody else's, just mine."

Schwartzbauer first called her township supervisors, then she called PennDOT, and then her state representative. When she felt no one offered a solution, she hired an engineer to assess the problem and damage and also hired a lawyer. 

"It's causing me major health issues, financial issues, and it's going to keep continuing until somebody fixes that."

KDKA Investigates started making phone calls, and Ross Township responded first, giving the following statement.

"The Township of Ross has been notified by counsel for this individual of her intent to sue the Township. The Township of Ross does not comment on any potential or pending litigation involving the Township of Ross."

"I am told that we are being sued by this property owner, therefore, we can not comment on this issue," a spokesperson said in a statement sent by PennDOT.

Schwartzbauer's State Rep. Emily Kinkead tells KDKA-TV that she plans to also reach out in hopes of solving this without costly lawsuits.

"I just want it fixed," said Schwartzbauer. "It's been two months. Somebody needs to come out and fix this. It belongs to somebody. Not the man in the moon."

An important tip is to keep track of all emails and paperwork. 

Create a folder in your email, and send all correspondences to that folder. 

When it comes to paperwork and engineering reports, be sure to print it all out and put it in a folder so you have easy access to that information. It makes things easier when a lawyer is involved.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.