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Flooded Oakdale Businesses Say Damage Could Have Been Prevented

OAKDALE, Pa. (KDKA) - The cleanup continues in Oakdale where some businesses owners were flooded from Ida and were closed Thursday. Those on Noblestown Road found their properties several feet underwater.

A line marking the side of Sil's Market shows how high water rose, destroying the basement. Just a few steps away, Our Cars Auto Detailing had more than 2 feet in the shop. The owners say it's damage and distress that could have been prevented years ago.

"Yesterday the water was up just shy of the rafters. Today we'll scrub everything down. We had to replace the hot water tank and have to replace the furnace," said Sil's Market owner Ray Yerkey.

Yerkey says they cleaned until 11 Wednesday night so they could open Thursday.

"I feel fortunate because we didn't get it as bad as some of the other people, but I feel bad for a lot of our other businesses," said Yerkey.

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(Photo: KDKA Photojournalist Jeff Roupe)

He's talking about businesses like Our Cars Auto Detailing, the one next door.

"I had about 2 1/2 feet of water in my building and mud," said Our Cars Auto Detailing owner Mark Snatchko.

Snatchko says he was proactive and removed most of his equipment from the shop. However, he did lose cabinets full of important documents and a day's worth of work to unpack.

Snatchko and Yerkey say this could have been avoided.

"Disappointed that no one does anything. I know the borough has tried and tried and tried to get people to come and do things. Everybody says it's ok," said Yerkey.

"The town is being flooded and the businesses and homeowners, they're taking their losses on it," said Snatchko.

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(Photo: KDKA Photojournalist Jeff Roupe)

Oakdale Borough Council President Mark Maximovich says studies, the latest done by PennDOT, show the creeks need to be dredged.

But he says state agencies like PennDOT and the Department of Environmental Protection haven't been much help after the 2004, 2011 and 2013 floods.

He's working with local representatives like Rep. Jason Ortitay on flood mitigation efforts, and they even took matters into their own hands. With the help of volunteers, they cleaned a confluence at the intersection of Union Avenue and Seminary Avenue and flooding diminished, but now they need to do it again.

Despite the losses and frustrations, the owners are thankful for the community's support.

"If it wouldn't have been for the community help for these past two days, I would have lost my business," said Snatchko.

"It's a good thing. Just thanks to everybody," said Yerkey.

They say it's a small neighborhood full of big hearts.

The DEP spokesperson says they've worked with borough officials and local leaders over the past decade on how to properly remove sediment and debris. She also says un-engineered dredging projects have proven to be ineffective in preventing flooding.

KDKA reached out to PennDOT as well and is waiting to hear back.

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