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New ponds will challenge golfers at Grand View

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 8:59 p.m.

Golfers at Grand View Golf Club in North Braddock might find the 18-hole course more challenging next year, when three ponds are added near hole No. 15.

The ponds aren't being installed as golfing obstacles, but they will benefit the course: They will be part of an acid mine drainage project to recycle water for the greens.

The acid mine drainage project is one of 12 projects the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority completed or has planned to remove streams from the authority's sewer system, usually by diverting them to natural bodies of water, Alcosan spokeswoman Nancy Barylak said.

The streams annually contribute millions of gallons of water that take up capacity in Alcosan's sewer system. They also add debris, cause sewer overflows and require treatment, she said.

The projects are named after streams or the areas in which they are located.

The North Braddock project involving Grand View, named Dooker Hollow after the stream being polluted, would divert at least 50 million gallons of acid mine water that flow annually from a hillside on the golf course into Alcosan's system. A Water Quality Management permit is needed from the state Department of Environmental Protection before the work can begin, Barylak said.

Alcosan plans to lead a project to build the three ponds. Two will be used to treat the water, and one will hold treated, clean water for irrigation at the golf course, said Jason Batchelor, golf course superintendent. Any unused, treated water will flow through a pipe into the Monongahela River.

“It's very unusual — the reuse of the water. Normally you're trying to remove it from the sewer system, but to be able to reuse it and recycle it … that's got environmental written all over it,” said Jan Oliver, Alcosan director of regional conveyance.

The Dooker Hollow project is estimated to cost $992,000, funded with $529,000 from Alcosan; a $417,500 Growing Greener grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection; a $39,000 Community Development Block Grant North Braddock received from Allegheny County Economic Development; and $6,000 from the borough.

It will include installing a pipe to collect acid mine water runoff from a hillside now flowing onto Wolfe Avenue, borough Manager Douglas Marguriet said. The pooling water is especially problematic when it freezes in the winter, he said.

The North Braddock project will take about nine months to complete, and Alcosan hopes to be done by the beginning of 2014, Barylak said.

Alcosan serves 83 communities in a 300-square-mile area, mostly within Allegheny County.

Of the 12 stream removal projects, five — including Jacks Run in Ross, Bellevue and Pittsburgh and Freid & Reineman in Reserve — have been completed.

Three projects were related to a 2008 court-ordered consent decree between Alcosan and the Environmental Protection Agency and other governmental agencies. The decree required Alcosan to eliminate 53 sanitary sewer overflows and minimize the amount of combined sewer overflows by 2026, Barylak said.

In lieu of paying some penalties, Alcosan was allowed to do three supplemental environmental projects if they cost at least $3 million, Oliver said. Those three projects — Orr Street in Stowe; Pine Hollow in Stowe, Kennedy and McKees Rocks; and Carnegie Park in Carnegie — totaled $7.6 million. Alcosan contributed $3.3 million.

All 12 projects fall under municipalities' consent agreements that require them to remove streams from sewer systems whenever possible by 2011, but some of the work hasn't been done because of cost, Barylak said. Alcosan requires a monetary match when it partners with municipalities, she said.

“I think with the regulators, if they show that municipalities are making … a good faith effort, that's OK,” she said.

The first of Alcosan's projects, Jacks Run, wasn't completed until 2008, although the authority identified all 12 a decade ago, Barylak said.

The Pine Hollow project, which the Army Corps of Engineers led to divert the stream from the combined sewer system into Chartiers Creek, was completed in late 2011, but the project had stalled for 10 years because of the cost, McKees Rocks engineer Doug Evans said.

The $5.6 million project was paid for with $3.4 million in federal stimulus funding, $1.7 million from Alcosan and $480,000 from Kennedy, Stowe, McKees Rocks, Alcosan said.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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