Staff from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Monday explained plans for a multi-million dollar 9,000-foot levee that would be constructed to protect Monroe Borough from flooding from the Towanda Creek.

The project would be funded mainly by the state, with the borough facing only minor costs, such as relocating utility poles and sheds, Jonathan Conville of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said Monday at a public informational meeting on the dike.

Conville said the levee will be constructed if the borough council signs a sponsorship agreement for the project, in which it would agree to pay certain costs and obtain permanent easements from local residents, he said.

In addition, the Monroe Township supervisors will need to approve the project, he said.

Borough officials have been trying to get a levee built for years, as the borough has had flooding problems in the past.

The levee would be installed on private property and would run parallel to the creek, said Adam Paul, a project specialist with the DEP.

The levee would begin at Canton Avenue, approximately 400 feet from Canton Avenue's intersection with state Route 414, and would end approximately 40 feet downstream from the intersection of state Route 414 and U.S. Route 220, he said.

The levee's height would vary from five feet to 11 or 12 feet, depending on the elevation of the ground, DEP officials said.

The levee, which would be constructed out of dirt, would be 10 feet wide at its top and 30 to 60 feet at its base, Paul said.

In addition, the exterior of the dike would have rock reinforcement for a couple hundred feet upstream and downstream of the bridge the carries Route 220 over the creek, Paul said.

The borough council supports the concept of the dike but still needs to review the sponsorship agreement before agreeing to it, borough council President Dan Troup said after the informational meeting.

The levee is intended to protect the borough from a 100-year flood, so one of the goals of the project is to lower residents' flood insurance rates, Conville said.

The project is currently in a preliminary design phase.

It will take another two years for final design work to be done and the project itself will take two construction seasons to build, he said.

The level would be completed around 2017, he said.

The levee will also have seven concrete pipes built into it that would drain storm water from the borough.

The pipes would range from two feet in diameter to a six-foot by six-foot drainage structure, Paul said.

These concrete pipes would have a door on its creek side that would automatically shut when the flood waters from the creek reached the level of the pipes, which would prevent the flood waters from entering the borough, he said.

In case a rock or tree limb prevented the doors from shutting, a borough employee would shut a door on the borough end of the each pipe as the creek's flood waters rose, guaranteeing that creek water could not enter the borough, Paul said.

The shutting of the doors would prevent further drainage of the borough, unless there were pumps installed to remove additional water from the borough, Paul said.

Conville said that the pumps, which would costs an estimated $200,000 have not been included in the project, because engineers don't believe that they are needed.

Paul explained that the peak rain in the borough is expected to occur in a matter of hours after a storm started, whereas the creek's level would peak in a matter of days after a storm started.

Therefore the drainage from the borough should occur before the drainage pipes would close, Paul said.

James Lowenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email; jlowenstein@thedailyreview.com.