Alcosan's Open House Details Sewage Project
Puko, Tim, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Teenagers with notebooks listened to scientists explain how they monitor water flow. Families watched lime-colored water flow through pipes to simulate storm conditions. Then they all walked through the black tube of the virtual sewer.
It takes a little bit of education for Alcosan, the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, to get public support for a decades-long project that will cost billions. The free food, games and prizes probably don't hurt either.
Alcosan held its fourth annual open house at its Marshall- Shadeland headquarters on Saturday, essentially a family-oriented science carnival at a sewage plant. The event comes just as the authority and its 83 member municipalities are gearing up for a federally mandated project to update sewerage lines, a project that will cost an estimated $3 billion and take 20 years.
"We can't move forward on anything unless we get the public to understand and move on this," said Tim Prevost, Alcosan's manager of wet weather programs.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given Alcosan 20 years to fix system problems that send billions of gallons of untreated sewage into the region's waterways every year during heavy rains. That means the authority may need access to run new pipes, update pipes or build holding tanks in its communities, spokeswoman Nancy Barylak said.
The authority can't do that without a cooperative public. …