ShareThis Page

Work will correct storm-sewer problems on 2 Irwin streets

Tony LaRussa
| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Irwin officials plan to spend up to $140,000 this summer to correct storm-water problems on two borough streets.

The work, which still must be put out for competitive bidding, will be done primarily along Highland Avenue between Penglyn and Cherokee Streets, according to borough engineer Lucien Bove.

“Over the years, we've received numerous complaints from residents in that area about runoff during heavy rainfalls that ends up flooding driveways and other parts of their properties and has caused the road to deteriorate,” Bove said.

Workers will install catch basins and add storm drains that also will serve as a detention system to slowly release the water, and crews will repair storm-sewer lines that have collapsed, he said.

A problem with water “ponding” on the surface of Conley Drive also will be corrected with the addition of catch basins and other drainage improvements, Bove said.

The damaged storm sewer lines near Highland were discovered earlier this year when video cameras were used to inspect about 40,000 feet of sanitary sewer lines, some 200 manholes and about 1,000 feet of storm-sewer line in the borough, Bove said.

Inspecting sewer lines is one of the ways the municipality can comply with the a 2012 federal consent agreement between the state Department of Environmental Resources and the Western Westmoreland Municipal Authority, which serves Irwin.

Water that seeps into Irwin's sanitary sewer lines during storms or when snow and ice melts quickly overburdens WWMA's sewage-treatment plants and results in the release of untreated sewage into Brush Creek, according water authority officials.

The agreement requires municipalities to take steps to keep sewage out of waterways.

Money for the work on Highland and Conley Drive — which will coincide with the borough's road resurfacing program to avoid having to dig into freshly paved streets — will be paid for with money collected since the borough began phasing in annual increases in sewer rates in 2010, according to borough Manager Mary Benko.

The borough has been using revenue from the rate increases to repay about $6 million borrowed five years ago through a low-interest loan program offered by the state.

That loan was combined with $1.6 million in grant money to split Irwin's combined sanitary- and storm-water lines into two separate systems, which was a major step toward complying with the federal mandate to reduce the infiltration into sanitary lines, Bove said.

To further resolve the infiltration problem, the borough in January agreed to sell nearly 10 acres it owns along Ridinger Park Road across from the sewage-treatment plant so the sewage authority could build a tank to hold the mixture of storm water and sewage until it can be treated properly.

The sewer plant in Irwin treats about 4.5 million gallons of sewage a day. When construction of the new tank is completed, it will be able to hold up to 5.2 million gallons of sewage until it can be processed at the plant.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or at

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.