| Home

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Allegheny County Executive Fitzgerald tells Alcosan: Rewrite runoff plan

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, 9:30 p.m.

The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority should rewrite a $2 billion plan for keeping sewage runoff out of area waterways to include less infrastructure and more “green” solutions, county Executive Rich Fitzgerald said on Friday.

Fitzgerald joined state Sen. Jim Ferlo during a luncheon attended by about 100 water experts and public officials in calling on Alcosan to include more rain barrels, rain collection gardens and permeable roads and sidewalks along with bigger sewer pipes and holding tanks in its federally mandated response plan.

Alcosan said reworking the plan would be impossible to complete in the three months left to submit it to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Quite frankly, we are at the 11th hour,” said Alcosan spokeswoman Nancy Barylak. “What we have is a federal court order that says we have to have this plan in by Jan. 23. If we do not meet this court order, what happens is we start to incur penalties and fines.”

Fitzgerald said he would ask Alcosan to negotiate an extension with EPA. He said he would also lead an effort to lobby Alcosan's 83 member communities to invest in more green solutions.

“I think there's an opportunity that (EPA) would be willing to renegotiate if we show them we have a real plan with real solutions,” Fitzgerald said. “The public's got to be a part of this. My job as an elected official is to get all the players together and work together on a plan.”

EPA spokesman David Sternberg said he could not comment on whether the agency would grant Alcosan an extension.

Allegheny County and other sewer authorities across the state must upgrade treatment systems to comply with a federal order for reducing overflows of raw sewage into waterways during heavy rain. Alcosan must reduce its overflows by 9 billion gallons annually.

The plan includes bigger sewer pipes, larger treatment capacities and installation of large holding tunnels under the rivers — all known as gray infrastructure.

Barylak said Alcosan has no legal authority to force municipalities to include green solutions in their plans.

Municipalities like Etna, which has green storm-water reduction programs in its downtown and residential areas, would do so if they had the cash, borough manager Mary Ellen Rammage said.

“We are interested in as much green as we can incorporate,” she said.

Ferlo, D-Lawrenceville, paid for the luncheon through his taxpayer-funded Senate account to bring together interested parties to discuss alternatives to the Alcosan plan. He estimated the tab at about $2,000.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Rossi: Looking at the next great Steeler
  2. Ability to clog the trenches crucial to Steelers defense
  3. Steelers swap draft pick for Eagles cornerback
  4. Zimbabwe alleges Murrysville doctor illegally killed lion
  5. After early criticism, Haley has Steelers offense poised to be even better
  6. Penguins not alone in top-heavy approach to salary cap
  7. EPA diktats: Pushing back
  8. Steelers notebook: Injuries finally become issue at training camp
  9. Starting 9: Examining Pirates’ deadline decisions
  10. Shell shovels millions into proposed Beaver County plant site
  11. Pirates notebook: New acquisition Happ more than happy to fill spot in rotation