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Lawsuit against City of Monessen, Mon Valley Sewage Authority going away

| Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Donora councilman and his wife are dropping their lawsuit against the city of Monessen and the Mon Valley Sewage Authority.

Thomas Kostolansky confirmed Monday that he and wife, Patricia, will voluntarily withdraw the civil suit Friday at the Washington County Court of Common Pleas.

Kostolansky, who is also an attorney, said he has already notified the defendants' respective attorneys: Monessen solicitor Mark Shire and authority solicitor Aaron Bialon.

The lawsuit claimed Mon Valley Sewage customers in Donora and Carroll Township would be forced to pay higher rates due to the potential relocation of a planned satellite treatment plant in Monessen.

The authority system treats sewage for approximately 2,500 customers in Donora and Carroll Township combined and more than 3,000 customers in Monessen.

“We were seeking to have the court declare a class action status for all the people using the facility in Washington County, so it's kind of a unique remedy,” Kostolansky said. “One thing that was very important to the whole situation is it created legal pressure on both the city and the authority to solve their problem.”

In August of 2012, Monessen council amended a zoning ordinance mandating that any construction or additions on riverfront property would require council's approval.

The ordinance, in essence, would have prohibited the construction of a satellite treatment plant – known as the Seneca Street Facility – in Monessen behind Frank's Garage on Donner Avenue.

In July, Monessen Council unanimously approved a consent agreement permitting the authority to construct the satellite treatment facility. The consent order was approved by Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas Judge Richard McCormick Jr.

In turn, the sewage authority withdrew its own lawsuit against the city of Monessen.

“What's really important is Judge McCormick is going to retain jurisdiction over the matter,” Kostolansky said. “I'm content as long as the court holds jurisdiction.”

Shire said he was aware of Kostolansky's stated intention, but said nothing was official until he presented a motion to withdraw the suit at the Washington County Courthouse.

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbruni@tribweb.com or 724-684-2635.

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