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ALCOSAN, the Allegheny County sewer agency, recently signed a consent agreement with the EPA that requires increased monitoring and $3 billion of new construction to stop rainy weather sewer pipe overflows into the rivers. The cause is the region’s older Combined Sewers in communities along the river that handle both sewage and rainwater. About 25 days a year, excess flow (rainwater with some sewage) from these older sewers is automatically bypassed into the region’s rivers. This does not mean the system has exceeded its capacity or deteriorated. This was how the system was originally designed, built, and approved by state regulatory agencies.

However, federal laws have changed and to avoid fines ALCOSAN just signed a consent agreement to spend $3 billion to change their system. As shown at the www.alcosan.cost site, your sewer bills (which are calculated from your water meter) will increase dramatically since there are only 294,000 households which pay the lion’s share of Alcosan’s bill. The $3 billion works out to a cost of $10,000 per household. Just the monitoring and paperwork alone associated with the consent will cause the present average household’s sewer bill (home owner or renter) to rise rapidly from a present $294 per year to $523 a year. Then, the effect of the $3 billion of phased construction kicks in, raising your household’s sewer bill to $1,300 a year when the dust settles!

Put simply: With its $3 billion consent, ALCOSAN is proposing to build 1.3 Hoover Dams to be paid for by less than 300,000 people. [Hoover dam cost $165 million in 1936 or $2.3 billion if built today; Alcosan customers total 294,000 households and this assumes one breadwinner per household.]

The intent of the site and this discussion group is to assess the ability of ALCOSAN to undertake the consent’s $3 billion of construction and to assess the related implications and options to homeowners and renters.

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