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Bloomsburg, Pa., Awarded $15 Million for Flood Protection

March 11, 2013; 4:04 PM

The Economic Development Administration (EDA), part of the Commerce Department, gave a $15 million grant to Columbia County, Pa., to be used to build control systems to protect Bloomsburg from future floods.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Lee dumped several inches of rain over parts of the Northeast on Sept. 5 through Sept. 9, 2011. The rainfall followed heavy rain produced by Hurricane Irene on Aug. 26 through Aug. 29, 2011.

Portions of the Susquehanna River basin, already saturated by Irene, were unable to absorb the rainfall from Lee and widespread flash flooding and river flooding occurred.

Related: Lee's Flooding Leaves Pennsylvania Homes in Ruins

In the town of Bloomsburg, the Susquehanna River crested on Sept. 9 at 32.75 feet, according to the United States Geological Survey water watch website. The river at that location is considered flooded when it reaches 19 feet. This was the second highest flood level at that location.

The flood waters devastated the homes and businesses in Bloomsburg. Columbia County Emergency Management Coordinator Larry Lahiff told AccuWeather Online Media Producer Grace Muller in September of 2011, that giving his best estimate, 2,500 structures were damaged or destroyed in the county.

"Protecting and improving the infrastructure that is critical to our businesses is a top priority for the Obama administration," said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank. "By working with local organizations to fund this project, EDA and the Department of Commerce are helping businesses in Bloomsburg and the surrounding areas save jobs and grow."

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