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Group can connect Aspinwall with stormwater plans

| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Members of the Congress of Neighboring Communities, known as Connect, and 3 Rivers Wet Weather updated Aspinwall officials on efforts to improve the sewage system and prevent stormwater runoff in the borough.

Connect representative Rich Joyce said work on improving sewage systems and storm water runoff will be a continuing effort of the group.

Wet weather plans from each municipality served by the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority are due in July.

“We've seen that even after gray infrastructure upgrades that they have not met clean water act standards so additional measures may need to be taken,” Joyce said.

John Schombert, executive director of 3 Rivers Wet Weather, said green infrastructure can play a role in improving older sewage systems and preventing storm water runoff from smaller storms into the sewage system.

Alcosan has been encouraged to add green infrastructure to its proposal to the Environmental Protection Agency to improve the sewage system and Alcosan officials have asked for more time to consider more ideas.

“The role for green infrastructure in fixing the pipe could be to reduce the frequency of those overflows by controlling up to even an inch of rainfall on site for those small areas,” Schombert said.

Other ways to improve the sewage system includes requiring a dye test at the time of home sales to make sure there are no problems on individual properties.

That process can take some time, he said.

“It might take a generation to get the full effect of that,” Schombert said.

As communities modernize their sewage systems, they will have to work together to take on projects that benefit the region, Joyce said.

He said Connect can help with that process.

“There needs to be a regional voice. We're hoping to fill that void with the municipalities working together,” Joyce said.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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