Penn Hills sewage projects on tap, awaiting grants
The Penn Hills Water Pollution Control Department will ask for nearly $700,000 in grants to extend sewer lines to several homes now using septic tanks and to replace sewer lines on Lime Hollow Road.
Officials said neither project can be done if the grants are not awarded.
A $250,000 grant sought from the Allegheny County Redevelopment Authority will allow the department to hook up eight homes on Duff Road to the public sewage system. The project includes installing 930 feet of sewer lines and eight manholes at an estimated cost of $343,500.
Department Director Tom O'Grady said there are around 15 homes along Duff Road that use septic tanks and about a third are not working properly.
“Septic systems are not the best way to treat sewage — some don't work very well, so drainage could potentially pollute streams,” he said. “They also can start having backup problems in their houses.”
The Allegheny County Health Department required Penn Hills to conduct a study in 2015 to figure out how to fix Duff Road's sewage problems. The study found it would cost more than $30,000 per house to connect them to the municipal sewage system. O'Grady said that's too much.
“The Health Department has been pushing us to sewer those areas – but since it's so expensive, we haven't really forced the issue,” O'Grady said. “Anywhere we can get funding to do sewer projects is less money we have to charge the residents.”
A $418,200 grant sought from the state's Department of Community and Economic Development will allow the department to continue sewage line replacement along Lime Hollow Road that started in 2015. The goal is to replace all the 12-inch lines with 18-inch lines the entire length of the road.
O'Grady said the replacements are needed because sewage backs up and overflows onto the road when it rains hard.