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2d Session

No. 507

TURTLE CREEK, PA.

LETTER

FROM

THE SECRETARY OF WAR

TRANSMITTING

A LETTER FROM THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY, DATED JANUARY 24, 1944, SUBMITTING AN INTERIM REPORT, TOGETHER WITH ACCOMPANYING PAPERS AND ILLUSTRATIONS, ON A SURVEY OF TURTLE CREEK, PA., MADE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE RIVER AND HARBOR ACT APPROVED ON JANUARY 21, 1927, WHICH AUTHORIZES A SURVEY OF THE MONONGAHELA RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES

MARCH 20, 1944.--Referred to the Committee on Flood Control and ordered to be

printed with two illustrations

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, March 13, 1944. The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

DEAR MR. SPEAKER: I am transmitting herewith an interim report dated January 24, 1944, from the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, together with accompanying papers and illustrations, on a survey of Turtle Creek, Pa. This report is made under the provisions of the River and Harbor Act approved on January 21, 1927, which authorizes a survey of the Monongahela River and tributaries.

Inasmuch as the proposed improvements are not essential to the war effort and since there would be large requirements for manpower, materials, and equipment, if the improvements are approved, the Department is of the opinion that initiation of construction thereof should be deferred until after the war.

The Bureau of the Budget has been consulted and advises that while there would be no objection to the submission of this proposed report to the Congress, in the absence of evidence showing that the proposed works are necessary to the prosecution of the war, the submission during the present emergency of any estimate of appropriation for the

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construction of the project would not be in accord with the programi
the President.

ONS.
Respectfully,

It is
HENRY L. STIMSON,
Secretary of War. A fin

tribut LETTER OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARY

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WAR DEPARTMENT, Hariga
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,

and AL

Washington, January 24, 1944. 15 mile
Subject: Turtle Creek, Pa.
To: The Secretary of War.

Citr

, P 1. I submit herewith for transmission to Congress an intern bach of report by the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors made forsider response to the provisions of House Document No. 308, Sixty-nina alev er Congress, first session, which was enacted into law, with modification, abere th in section 1 of the River and Harbor Act of January 21, 1927. lis fide 7 based upon investigations by the district and division engineers at 1901-3

, 1 presents a plan for flood control and low-water flow improvemet

. felicated A final comprehensive survey report on Monongahela River ad D.4 mile ! tributaries, including Turtle Creek, is in preparation. 2. The Board recommends the improvement of Turtle Creek, Pt

, the creek by the construction of a reservoir for flood control and low-war beduced til flow improvement, in general accordance with the plans described 3. Num herein and shown on the accompanying drawings, at an estimated preek Val first cost to the United States of $2,613,000 with $15,000 annual llinois St for operation and maintenance of the dam and reservoir; subject planufacta the condition that no funds shall be expended for construction of the Air Brake work until responsible local agencies have given assurances satu puderships factory to the Secretary of War that they will: (a) Provide with each the cost to the United States all lands, easements, and rights-of-wr Cuttle Cree necessary for construction of the dam and for the reservoir; (b) bor branch the cost of all relocations of highways and alterations of public uti Prsh Cree ties, except railroads, made necessary by construction of the projes

; and Rain and (c) maintain the channel through the Turtle Creek flood damage Creek also c reach below the reservoir in accordance with regulations prescribed The Pittsbu by the Secretary of War.

3. After due consideration of this report, I concur in the views 900 4. Industi recommendations of the Board.

E. REYBOLD,
Major Ceneral, Chief of Engineers fully exa

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REPORT OF THE BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND

HARBORS

WAR DEPARTMENT,
THE BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS,

Washington, November 8, 1943.
Subject: Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania,
To: The Chief of Engineers, United States Army.

1. This interim report on Turtle Creek, Pa., with illustrations, and of Mar made under the provisions

of House Document No. 308, Sixty-ninia Congress, first session, which was enacted into law, with modifica

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tions, in section 1 of the River and Harbor Act of January 21, 1927. It is based upon investigations by the district and division engineers and presents a plan for flood control and low-water flow improvement. A final comprehensive survey report on Monongahela River and tributaries, including Turtle Creek, is in preparation.

2. Turtle Creek, Pa., has its source in Westmoreland County, flows westerly and empties into pool No. 2 of the Monongahela River e navigation project 11.6 miles above the junction of the Monongahela cand Allegheny Rivers at Pittsburgh. It drains a watershed about 15 miles long having an area of 148 square miles as shown on the accompanying map. Brush Creek enters Turtle Creek at Trafford City, Pa., 6 miles above the mouth. Upstream from the junction, each of these creeks drains about 56 square miles. The area under consideration in this report is the lower 5 miles of the Turtle Creek Valley extending upstream to the borough of Pitcairn. For 3.5 miles above the creek mouth, the valley floor is only 500 to 1,000 feet wide. Thence it widens to about one-half mile at Pitcairn. In 1904-5, navigation locks and dam, No. 2, Monongahela River, were relocated from a position above the mouth of Turtle Creek to about 0.4 mile below the creek mouth thereby raising the slackwater elevation at the mouth of the creek about 10 feet. Deposition of silt in the creek channel, alleged to have resulted from this change, has reduced the water-carrying capacity of the creek at bankfull stage.

3. Numerous large industrial plants are located in lower Turtle Creek Valley, notably the Edgar Thompson Works of the CarnegieIllinois Steel Co. at North Braddock, the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co.'s plant at East Pittsburgh, and the Westinghouse Air Brake Co.'s plant at Wilmerding. Railroad tracks of various ownerships cross and parallel the creek in its lower mile. Above this reach the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad is located in the Turtle Creek Valley to Brush Creek which it follows thence upstream, A branch of this railroad follows Turtle Creek above the mouth of Brush Creek. Extensive transfer and storage yards of the Pennsylvania Railroad are located at Pitcairn. The lower valley of Turtle Creek also contains a network of borough streets and connecting roads. The Pittsburgh Railway Co. operates a trolley line in the valley up to Trafford City

4. Industrial wastes, domestic sewage, and coal-mine drainage, the latter originating principally in the Brush Creek Basin, have caused heavy pollution in lower Turtle Creek. During low-water periods, usually extending over several months annually, the discharge is insufficient to transport the heavy sewage load and objectionable deposits result. In general these deposits are removed by floods and freshets and transported to the Monongahela River and downstream water supplies. In the lower 3-mile reach of the creek, deposits have occurred to such extent at some sewer outlets that pumping of the sewage has been required.

5. Lower Turtle Creek Valley is subject to destructive floods both from run-off originating within the creek basin and from backwater from Monongahela River when it is at high stage. The greatest inundation of record in the lower valley resulted from the backwater flood of March 1936. To protect its plant from backwater floods, the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co. in 1938 completed the installation of barrier works on Turtle Creek about 1 mile above

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the mouth. The improvement consists of one vertical lift gate acna

reduce Turtle Creek and one across the adjacent Braddock Avenue togethelations with a pumping plant. Normally the gates are in a raised posita improvi clear of the stream and the street. When the backwater from ( Monongahela threatens to cause damage, the gates are lowered whis is the f makes it necessary to pump the headwater fow. Protection of aller upstream valley against backwater to elevation 750, or 4 feet abouw-wat the stage of the March 1936 flood at this point, is provided. Struction Federal projects for flood control on Turtle Creek have been authe furnishii ized by Congress and the only other improvement for that purpo pequred undertaken by local interests consists of the raising of streets and art alte buildings in the boroughs of Turtle Creek and East Pittsburgh follow pads

, ar ing a flood in 1911. Subsequent filling in of the creek channel to hrough largely nullified the relief from flood damages afforded by the late pinate

, : work.

beading 6. The flood problem under present investigation relates to flocs. On originating within the creek basin. Damages commence when crer for the flows reach a discharge of about 7,500 cubic feet per second. T's eleration discharge has been exceeded on nine occasions since 1888. In additia latinum to the several important industries and transportation facilities, mas small commercial and business establishments and various residenti districts are subject to direct flood damages. The district engine storm, estimates that repetition of the largest headwater flood of rece planinum i would result in direct damages of about $1,520,000, that the avera annual direct damages due to headwater run-off, based upon flons of record, amounts to about $129,000. In addition, important intestinated ruptions of traffic and employment occur. Local interests desire to stimated fi United States to undertake works to afford relief from floods in the lower valley of Turtle Creek and advocate measures for pollutia abatement in conjunction with flood control.

7. Investigations by the district engineer indicate that relief fromation headwater flood damages in the lower valley in conjunction with lowater flow improvement for pollution abatement, as advocated local interests, can best be accomplished by construction of a multipia fixated to purpose reservoir with dam located on Turtle Creek 8 miles above the mouth to control a drainage area of 54 square miles. Topograph at the dam site and a preliminary design for the dam, planned as i earth fill with controlled tunnel outlet and uncontrolled saddle spiway, are shown on accompanying drawing. Murrysville, populatio about 1,000, at the upper end of the reservoir would be somewhat area contains scattered dwellings and a brick plant. Two major and patio of estim affected by the reservoir when full. Below the town, the reservir three minor producing gas wells would be flooded. Coal seams the upper Freeport bed are believed to underlie the proposed reserva but these are reported to have little present value. Gas, oil, wala mliple-puri electric power, and telephone lines would have to be relocated protected. The Turtle Creek branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad

. which has two short spurs, would require relocation. United Stalo perraller Highway No. 22 would need to be raised for a distance of a hot 4,200 feet and alteration of four secondary roads would be necessato take full Abandonment of other secondary roads is contemplated.

8. The reservoir is designed to reduce floods of record to below the no-damage stage in lower Turtle Creek Valley and would materialy

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reduce damages resulting from possible larger floods. Sanitary conditions and industrial water supplies in the valley would be greatly improved. Floods from Turtle Creek crest and reach Pittsburgh ahead of Monongahela-Allegheny River crests. Consequently most of the flood-control benefits of the reservoir would accrue to the local valley. In view thereof, and of the local benefits of the increase in ow-water flows, the district and division engineers consider that conžtruction of the reservoir should be contingent upon local interests furnishing free of cost to the United States al lands and rights-of-way required for the dam and reservoir area, bearing the costs of necessary alterations to highways and other public utilities except railroads, and agreeing to suitably maintain the channel of Turtle Creek through the flood damage area, the United States to construct, operate, and maintain the dam and to bear all costs of railroad changes ncluding the costs of rights-of-way for the latter.

9. On the described basis, the district engineer has presented data for the improvement as follows: Elevation of top of dam, feet above mean sea level..

918 Maximum height of dam, feet.

128 Elevation of spillway crest, feet.

900 Area of reservoir at spillway crest elevation, acres..

870 Gross capacity of reservoir at spillway crest, acre-feet

29, 600 Maximum net capacity for flood control to spillway crest, acre-feet.

21, 600 Maximum net capacity for flood control in drainage-area, inches.--

7. 5 Capacity reserved exclusively for low water flow improvement, acre: feet.

7, 200 Estimated first cost to United States..

$2, 613, 000 Estimated first cost to local interests.

1, 717, 000 Estimated total first cost...

4, 330, 000 Estimated annual cost to United States with $15,000 annually for operation and maintenance of dam.

102, 000 Estimated annual cost to local interests with $5,000 annually for maintenance of Turtle Creek channel..

77,000 Estimated total annual cost.

179, 000 Estimated average annual benefits: Prevention of direct damages based on floods of record..

129, 000 Prevention of direct damages from possible larger floods..

46, 000 Prevention of indirect flood losses.

9, 000 Pollution abatement.-

15, 000 Improvement of industrial water supplies--

5, 000 Total.

204, 000 Ratio of estimated annual costs to benefits, 1 to 1.14. The district and division engineers have advised that they consider the work warranted and that they recommend construction of the multiple-purpose reservoir subject to the local cooperation indicated.

10. The Board, after careful consideration, concurs in the findings of the reporting officers that relief from headwater flood damages in the lower valley of Turtle Creek may be most suitably accomplished by the temporary storage of excess run-off, and in the view that it is advisable to make full use of the potentialities of the reservoir site selected by providing, also, storage space to be used exclusively for low-water flow improvement as desired by local interests. The reservoir so constructed would be in conformity with the best comprehensive plan for

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