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Pleasant Hills Authority seeks reduction in fines

| Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 8:52 p.m.

Pleasant Hills officials want to reduce about $60,000 in DEP-imposed penalties for the towns in the Pleasant Hills Authority.

The authority will recommend that the Department of Environmental Protection reduce or expunge penalties for Pleasant Hills, Baldwin Borough, South Park Township and Whitehall, officials said at a Nov. 19 meeting.

The DEP imposed the fines because the authority did not reduce sewage overflow and correct other issues connected to its sanitary sewage system.

“We're doing the right thing,” Pleasant Hills Council President William Trimbath said. “All that takes time. The penalties are there as an incentive to comply.”

Pleasant Hills owes $30,000 of the $60,000 total, Trimbath said.

The municipalities are working to comply with the DEP's consent decree to reduce overflow problems, he said.

The DEP is requiring communities across Pennsylvania to upgrade systems managing sanitary sewage systems — many built more than 100 years ago. Overflows in the system can contaminate rivers and streams.

The municipalities in the Pleasant Hills Authority are complying with the agreement and meeting deadlines, but monitoring the flow, and creating a plan takes time, officials said.

The municipalities also are working together to approve a service agreement with the authority, Trimbath said.

If the municipalities can reach an agreement within the next few weeks, then Pleasant Hills Borough Council will vote on it at the Dec. 17 meeting. If not, council members must vote for an extension.

The terms of service for the agreement is for 40 years for a meter-based system that will help the DEP and authority keep track of flow in each municipality.

Laura Van Wert is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5814 or at lvanwert@tribweb.com.

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