The Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced it will provide an 18-month extension of the consent orders and agreements under which Allegheny County Sanitary Authority customer municipalities have been operating. The agreements expired March 30.
The extensions are being granted in order to accommodate a request by the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to explore the benefits of green infrastructure as part of the solution to reducing stormwater flows entering sewer systems.
The original agreements were executed in 2004, and required municipalities to evaluate, repair and upgrade their sewer systems to reduce the discharge of untreated sewage into area rivers and streams.
“We are fully supportive of the use of green infrastructure tools to help reduce sewage flow volume, and believe that the extension will be time well spent,” said DEP Acting Secretary John H. Quigley. “It allows municipalities to explore innovations and continue plans to improve existing infrastructure without delaying the key implementation date.”
DEP informed the City of Pittsburgh and 79 municipalities of the interim, 18-month consent order. The municipalities had either entered into a Consent Order and Agreement with DEP or an Administrative Consent Order with the Allegheny County Health Department.
Different agreements will now be developed for municipalities operating sanitary sewer systems, those operating combined sewer systems, and those operating hybrids.
In the first phase of this interim consent order, the municipalities must develop a green infrastructure plan and implementation schedule, and determine anticipated flow reductions. Green infrastructure mimics natural systems, and is designed to reduce stormwater runoff.“Pittsburgh’s economic renaissance is tied, in large measure, to a commitment to environmental progress,” Quigley said. “The region's pursuit of green infrastructure solutions is the next step in that renaissance, and we are committed to working with Mayor Bill Peduto and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to find creative ways to address the region's infrastructure needs.”