ALCOSAN, Communities Urged to Work Together on Regional Approach

Mar 15, 2013

Panel Chair Jared Cohon (speaking) flanked by ALCOSAN Executive Director Arletta Scott Williams (L) and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
Credit Deanna Garcia/90.5 WESA News

A more regional approach to stormwater and wastewater management would mean better water quality, better service and a more efficient system overall. That’s according to a report from an independent review panel convened by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development at the request of ALCOSAN.

The Authority serves 83 communities, each of them is responsible for collection and then conveyance to ALCOSAN pipes, then the Authority is responsible for treatment.

“I’m sure we can all recognize that a single entity managing that process is much more efficient than multiple entities,” said Areletta Scott Williams, ALCOSAN executive director.

Some of the recommendations from the review panel include:

  • Governance changes to reflect the multi-jurisdictional interests in ALCOSAN decision making and performance
  • Transfer of inter-municipal conveyance lines and wet weather control facilities to ALCOSAN
  • Financial incentives to promote municipal flow control
  • Consolidation of municipal wastewater and stormwater collection systems
  • Integrated municipal stormwater and wastewater planning

Chair of the review panel, CMU President Jared Cohon, said such actions, along with others, would make the system as a whole more efficient.

“It also leads to other benefits," he said. "It will produce better water quality; it will produce a greener approach or give us opportunities to be greener in our approach, less structurally focused. It will allow us to create a more sustainable system.”

Another recommendation is hiring someone to oversee a regional system. Now that the report has been released, it will be reviewed by ALCOSAN and other regional officials.

“Some of the recommendations we can probably start initiating right away,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Taking a look at a wastewater coordinator is certainly something we can do in county government right away.”  

Pat Schaefer, panel member and president of the Edgewood Borough Council, said it’s important that this report not sit on a shelf.

“We are connected. Urban core, city and suburbs,” she said. “This report provides a template for success for us, the 83 municipalities, the three, ten, twelve basins, one system, one voice.”