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New Ken sewer report scheduled

| Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

Area residents served by the New Kensington Municipal Sanitary Authority will get an idea Wednesday on how the system is meeting federal requirements.

“It's a compliance update,” said Dan “Skip” Rowe, sanitary authority manager. “We are required to have public meetings to update all the communities involved to let them know what is going on.”

“We'll have a Power Point presentation on where we are at and what we have spent their money on,” Rowe said.

In addition to New Kensington, the sanitary system serves Arnold, Lower Burrell and parts of Plum and Allegheny Township, which send sewage to the treatment plant in New Kensington's Parnassus section.

The system has been under a consent decree from the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce infiltration by storm water into the sanitary authority's treatment plant. In heavy rains, the influx of combined storm and sanitary flows can overwhelm a treatment plant and result in discharges of untreated sewage into rivers and streams.Municipalities and municipal authorities throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley and the Pittsburgh region have been under the same decree.

Aaron Kress, the New Kensington authority's solicitor, said he knows of no legal jeopardy facing the authority as far as making progress toward complying with the decree.

“I think they are on schedule,” said Aaron. “I think the big thing was a hydraulic report which is essentially how much storm water is coming into the system and that report, if it is not finished, it is close to being finished.”

“We have been doing a lot of flow monitoring and we can really get into that,” Rowe said. “We've developed a model on where all the water is going when it rains.”

He said 120 flow meters have been in place throughout the system for 14 months recording data for that model. Once completed, it will enable the authority and its municipalities to see the problem areas that will have to be addressed in terms of separating storm and sanitary sewers, he said.

“That work will cost those people money and that is not a pleasant thought,” Rowe said. “We are trying to work it out so it doesn't hurt anybody too bad.”

He said the objective is to contain 85 percent of the flow coming into the plant.

“I don't think we are that far off that right now,” Rowe said. “As far as the consent order, we are right on schedule, we are actually a little ahead of it.”

Ultimately, the authority must come up with a long- term plan to solve the system's problems.

“By the end of 2014, we are going to have to sign off on something,” he said. “We definitely need public input, at least through the politicos involved.

“We're going to try to make a plan that everybody can afford,” Rowe said.

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or tyerace@tribweb.com.

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