Fox Chapel residents to pay more for sewage service
Residential sewage rates in Fox Chapel will rise this year to pay for required fixes to the system.
Service line charges will climb from $15 to $60 per quarter; consumption charges will be $4.66 per 1,000 gallons per quarter, up from $2.35.
Council approved the jump to pay for upgrades required by a consent decree from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Allegheny County Health Department.
“The increase directly matches what we need to do to fix our lines,” Borough Manager Gary Koehler said.
The cost to upgrade the borough's system, made primarily of clay pipe, is $10.7 million.
A consent decree issued in 2004 to municipalities served by Alcosan is intended to reduce the amount of storm water runoff into sewer systems and overflows of sewage into rivers and streams.
Koehler said the deadline for upgrades is in five years, but council wants the work to begin now.
“We want to get it done before the billion-dollar fixes that Alcosan needs, because there will be a drain on resources when that starts,” he said.
Crews already have analyzed the sanitary sewer system and determined that because of the age of the lines — 45 to 100 years — and the clay material, groundwater continues to enter the system and cause overflows into the Allegheny River.
“We need to repair or replace the majority of the system,” Koehler said.
Aside from deteriorating clay, sections of cast iron and concrete are undersized for current flow conditions.
“There are two pieces of the project — the trunk and the branches,” Koehler said.
The branch lines are broken or leaking and need to be repaired. Contractors are focusing on that now, which involves about 2.6 miles of pipe.
“The trunk is too small and needs to be upsized,” Koehler said. That work, which includes 2.5 miles of sewer main, could begin in about three years.
Once the crumbled lines are relined or replaced, crews will install a meter where “the branches meet the trunk,” Koehler said. “We'll be able to see how the fixes have reduced flow to the trunk and determine what size we need to make it.”
Koehler said hundreds of manholes also will be repaired or replaced.
Residents can find ways to lower the consumption portion of their new bill, Koehler said, by installing efficient or low-flow fixtures.
“It's really sort of good news for us,” he said. “We initially thought it would cost more for the work.”
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Work continues on Lauri Ann West Community Center in O’Hara, fall opening eyed
- Community garden considered for Blawnox
- Aspinwall Catholic school enrollment grows; technology advances
- Upgrades in store for Fox Chapel Area students
- Turning off some lights could save cash in Blawnox
- ‘I Heart Blawnox’ ministry aimed to rally community
- More bridge work detours Indiana Twp. drivers