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Adams Twp Residents and DEP

Adams Township resident Bart Wagner recently built a new shed in his backyard.

He said that’s because his old 10 x 12 shed was destroyed by water.

“Over the years, it just rotted out around the bottom,” It’s not just Bart’s property.

He said there are over 20 homes in his development with flooded backyards, basements, and homes.

“Most of my neighbors are only using about two-thirds of their yards, because the other third is underwater,” he said.

What the residents now call a “drainage ditch” — clogged with cattails, weeds, sediment, and debris — used to look a lot different.

“The area here 20 years ago was grass. Kids used to play football in this area,” said resident Steve Sewalk.

Adams Townships supervisors applied for a permit with the Department of Environmental Protection dredge-up the sediment.

But they say the DEP won’t grant them one without going through costly environmental studies.

Adams Township Supervisor Dennis Richards said going through that process wouldn’t even guarantee a permit would be granted in the end.

“We’re trying to get a permit for years and years, but the DEP won’t give us the permission and permit to go in there and clean this stream,” he told 6 News.

The supervisors said they fear legal repercussions if they went against the DEP.

We asked the Department of Environmental Protection about this.

They wrote, “Removal of accumulated sediment to maintain hydraulic capacity for up to 50 feet upstream and downstream only applies to bridges and culverts. The cleaning of debris or sediment around outfalls is only allowed within the immediate area of an outfall.”

Resident Tim Kakabar says 50 feet isn’t enough.

“It’s kind of plain and simple. It’s a drainage ditch. It’s not a stream. It’s not a wetland. It’s an overflowing drainage ditch that turned into a wetland because they’re not allowed to come in and figure it out,”

They said the next step is to persuade local lawmakers to give the DEP an extra push to keep their community dry.

“This is their livelihoods down here. This is their life savings and their homes. It’s costing them money. It’s costing them to repair their homes, and it’s not their fault,”

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