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State agency gives Murrysville sanitary authority more time to fix line

| Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Murrysville sewage officials have some extra time to fix a faulty sewage line.

The state Department of Environmental Protection last month agreed to extend Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority's corrective-action plan through late 2014, which gives officials more time to replace one of its main sewage lines.

“Changing the main line to a better program, that's our main focus,” said Jim Brucker, manager of the authority.

The force main — a sewage line that pushes untreated sewage to the treatment plant along Meadowbrook Road — has been problematic in recent years. Last summer, the line broke 15 times between mid-July and early September, dumping about 30 million gallons of untreated sewage into Turtle Creek.

The authority has not been fined for those illegal discharges, DEP officials said.

Authority officials are working with owners of the Turtle Creek Railroad — along which an expansion to the Westmoreland Heritage Trail is planned — to obtain permission to run the new sewer line along the train tracks. The previous plan required the sewage line to cross over the railroad about 13 times, engineers said.

Board chairman Mark Adamchik said he appreciates railroad owner Wayne Norris' willingness to work with the authority.

According to the revised schedule, work could begin as soon as July on the project, with completion expected within 180 days of the permit's issuance.

The authority has obtained bond financing to pay for the project, which is expected to cost between $3.5 and $5 million.

The state also approved the full number of “tap-ins” — or new sewage connections — the authority requested. Under its corrective action plan, the authority is required to receive early approval for new connections based on projections. In 2014, the authority can add up to 316 connections.

That decision bodes well for the authority, engineer Steve Polen said.

“In my opinion, DEP is placing confidence in the authority and board to get things done,” Polen said. “It's a good indication that they're comfortable with what we're all doing.”

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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