Alcosan working to address DEP concerns about ‘wet weather’ plan |

Alcosan working to address DEP concerns about ‘wet weather’ plan

Aaron Aupperlee

The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will work together to address concerns about the authority’s $2 billion plan to reduce sewage overflows into rivers, says a letter the Department of Justice sent to Alcosan on Friday.

Alcosan and the EPA could reach agreement by the end of April, the letter stated.

“When the federal government is expressing a willingness to participate in the process, when they don’t have to, you have to be encouraged,” Alcosan Executive Director Arletta Scott Williams said.

On Jan. 31, the EPA told Alcosan that its plan to reduce overflows in wet weather does not comply with a court order. Alcosan is under a consent decree to cut the amount of raw sewage that enters rivers from about 9 billion gallons to 4 billion to 5 billion gallons by 2026.

The Justice Department noted possible modifications to the order, though Williams declined to specify those modifications.

She would not release the letter, calling it a “confidential settlement communication” that was sent to Alcosan’s attorney. The Justice Department is the EPA’s attorney in the matter.

Officials with both federal agencies did not return calls for comment.

The Justice Department asked Alcosan to review the proposed negotiations and suggested meetings with the authority, its municipal customers, the EPA, the state Department of Environmental Protection, and the Allegheny County Health Department. Williams said those meetings are not scheduled.

The letter confirmed willingness to consider “a phased approached to allow for green infrastructure,” according to the statement.

Environmentalists and local officials have asked Alcosan to consider adding canals, rain barrels, porous asphalt and other environmentally friendly infrastructure to the plan.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7986 or [email protected].

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.