The following is a link for a document that we learned about at the PA DEP training in March—“Draft MS4 Requirements Table”—which has specific requirements for MS4s during the next permit term relating to the remediation of impaired streams and rivers. The draft permit is also now available for your review, although the public comment period has not officially begun. Note the appendices at the end that list the requirements for the permit, based on the types of impairment. As written, the draft permit requires municipalities to develop inventories, investigations, and control/elimination of the sources of impairment. Both of these documents will have significant impacts on how municipalities manage stormwater and wastewater going forward, and we wanted you to be aware of them.
The 3 Rivers Wet Weather 2015 Sewer Rate Study Update is now available.
3RWW provides this information so that municipalities can compare their rates to neighboring communities. ALCOSAN charges are included in the rate calculations. These tables compare rates to median household income (MHI) allowing you to measure the current level of burden on your ratepayers. Environmental Protection Agency guidance suggests that sewer rates in excess of two percent (2.0%) of median household income are considered a hardship. In our region, the current average rate is 1.28% of the MHI, with a low of 0.34% and a high of 3.00% (See Sewer Rate Survey Update with Median Household Income: 2015). The sewer rate study update also contains graphic comparisons of sewer rates by Eastern, North and Southern basins. We encourage you to share this sewer rate study information with your council.
In February and March, ALCOSAN and the Sewer Regionalization Implementation Committee (SRIC) hosted six municipal outreach meetings in ALCOSAN’s regional planning basins. (ALCOSAN is also planning an upcoming meeting with PWSA in the Main Rivers Basin.) At these municipal outreach meetings, community representatives—managers, elected officials, engineers and solicitors--learned about the process for identifying the multi-municipal trunk sewers that should be transferred to ALCOSAN for the most benefit to the region. Presenters from 3 Rivers Wet Weather shared a template of agreement, and discussed the transaction process and legal principles all developed by SRIC to make the transfers as efficient as possible. In the upcoming months, ALCOSAN will be planning individual municipal meetings to cover the details regarding the candidate trunk sewers identified for transfer. This regional approach, which involves 73 of the 83 ALCOSAN service area communities, is a key step in laying the foundation for a long-term, sustainable solution to our wet weather problem. Visit our website to access the template of agreement, transaction process and legal principles.
With the pending expiration of the municipal orders on March 30, 2015, we wanted to provide you with an update on the review of the municipal requests for extensions that have been submitted to the regulatory agencies. At this time, the Allegheny County Health Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection have received letters requesting an extension of their municipal orders from about 40% of the ALCOSAN customer municipalities.
To date, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has responded to 31 letters to acknowledge their receipt of the request for an extension of their COA/ACO, and to let municipalities know that the agencies will be contacting them soon. It is anticipated that discussions between the municipalities submitting requests and the regulatory agencies will be necessary in order to negotiate the terms and requirements for moving forward. Although 3 Rivers Wet Weather has been requested to play a role in facilitating these future discussions, if you have any further questions regarding your request, you should contact PADEP or ACHD, as appropriate.
The 2015 Allegheny League of Municipalities (ALOM) Spring Conference, scheduled for April 9-12 at Seven Springs, will feature a special half-day session on wet weather issues beginning at 9 a.m. on April 11. Topic areas will include: consent decree compliance · municipal consent order status · regionalization progress · new stormwater requirements · water quality initiatives. Mark your calendar and register today by visiting www.alleghenyleague.org.
EPA, in their June 17, 2014 meeting with ALCOSAN service area municipalities, identified a municipal source flow-reduction program as a critical component of a regional wet weather plan. In particular, they noted that inflow/infiltration controls provide key opportunities for source flow reduction.
In December 2014, 3 Rivers Weather solicited proposals to develop a Regional Flow Isolation Measurement Program in 2015 to identify the appropriate technologies needed to assist separate sewer municipalities with this source flow reduction planning. Using the municipal consent order-required 2008 flow monitoring data, six ALCOSAN Points of Connection (POCs) were identified as candidate basins to serve as a pilot program for future flow isolation programs. The six ALCOSAN POCs (Basins) were then further broken down into the smaller neighborhoods (Sub-basins) for the flow isolation studies in order to identify cost-effective source flow reduction candidate areas at a street/neighborhood level. 3RWW will provide EPA grant funding for the Flow Isolation Measurement Program to ADS, Stantec, and Applied Science. Basin and Sub-Basin monitoring will begin in January and night-time flow isolation measurements are planned during elevated groundwater conditions in February through April 2015 in the pilot neighborhoods.
In addition to source reduction, the region will continue to aggressively work on the other goals identified by the EPA – regionalization, green infrastructure, and flow targets – in order for the region to be allowed to move forward with a water quality-based Interim Wet Weather Plan.