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2012 Manager's Minutes


December 2012

Preparation of your Feasibility Study, due in July 2013, should be well underway.  Below is an overview of the major components that will need to be included in your plan. These elements were developed by the 3 Rivers Wet Weather Feasibility Study Working Group collaborating to ensure compliance with the municipal consent order requirements.  Items such as cost sharing agreements and development of a Memorandum of Understanding (Suggested guidelines.) for the report will require significant coordination, so be sure to build ample time into the schedule.  A model Feasibility Study is being prepared that can be used as a guide.

Note that if your municipality is part of one or more complex sewersheds, you will need to have completed your alternative analysis and selected the most cost-effective approach to compliance.  The following items should be considered as you develop the plan;

a.      Identify proposed physical project(s) and cost, and determine if the selected alternative will be constructed as multi-municipal infrastructure.

b.      Determine level of control to be proposed; i.e. design storm for SSO controls, number of overflows in CSO systems.

c.      Consider source reduction and green infrastructure options  (Incorporate into leading alternative or list in Feasibility Study appendix to be considered where cost-effective and appropriate.)

d.      Determine cost sharing allocations.

e.      Determine individual municipal cost for sewer O&M and capital projects in all sewersheds.

f.      Determine individual municipal affordability (% of MHI). Be sure to include both ALCOSAN and municipal cost projections in this analysis.

g.       Coordinate individual municipal financial capabilities with other municipalities in shared sewersheds.

h.       Develop implementation schedules for individual municipalities and shared sewersheds that coordinate with the ALCOSAN Consent Decree and Wet Weather Plan.

i.       Initiate development of MOUs or Agreements to cover project implementation.

j.      Consider management and institutional options such as consolidation and regional authorities.

k.       Public meetings on proposed plan are not required by the consent orders, but are recommended.

l.         Develop both individual municipal and shared sewer Feasibility Study approaches and recommendations.

m.      Complete individual Feasibility Study for each municipality addressing each point of connection (POC).

n.     Complete MOUs or Agreements for all multi-municipal sewers and facilities.

o.       Each municipal Council must approve and adopt the individual municipal Feasibility Study prior to the July submittal to DEP or ACHD.

If you have questions about the preparation of your Feasibility Study, contact jschombert@3rww.org or (412) 578-7962.

SmartGrowth Conference

Register ($45) for the 12th Annual SmartGrowth Conference, December 13 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. John Schombert will moderate a panel of speakers who will consider ideal and practical scenarios for our region in applying green infrastructure such as: regionalization, source reduction, fee structure, affordability, time to implement, stormwater utility, etc.


November 2012

Allegheny County is developing a county-wide Act 167 stormwater management plan to ensure that the County as a whole is in compliance with environmental regulations, and to help protect residents from the flooding and pollution risks associated with stormwater.  The County is seeking municipal input on the most important stormwater-related issues in your community, such as peak flow, water pollution, sedimentation, landslides, groundwater recharge, stream erosion, flooding, etc.  As a municipal representative, you have likely received your invitation already to attend one of the following meetings:   · November 19 for communities north of the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers, 6:30pm, Hampton Township Community Center · November 20 for communities east of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, 6:30pm, Holiday Inn Monroeville · November 28 for communities south of the Ohio and Monongahela Rivers, 6:30pm, Mount Lebanon Municipal Building   Allegheny County is demonstrating great leadership in this important initiative, which will produce a model ordinance, a guide for best management practices, and green solution recommendations for managing stormwater in Allegheny County.  We encourage you to participate in this process by visiting the County’s  stormwater management website for additional information, to RSVP  for one of the community meetings and to complete an online questionnaire about your community’s stormwater issues.  

Free 3RWW Webinar

Interested in learning how to use 3RWW’s online Municipal Data Support Tool from your own desk? 3RWW will conduct a free one-hour webinar on Wed., Nov. 14 from 12-1 p.m.  Register at www.localgovernmentacademy.org.


October 2012

A subcommittee of the 3RWW Feasibility Study Working Group (FSWG) has prepared a summary of the ALCOSAN Wet Weather Plan as a quick reference guide for ALCOSAN municipalities.  Attached is the “Summary of Plan Information for the Customer Municipalities and Authorities,” which highlights elements of the WWP of interest to all customer municipalities, and also provides an appendix outlining information from the WWP specific to each municipality, such as ALCOSAN’s estimate of costs per household in each community, ALCOSAN facilities to be constructed in each municipality, etc.   We hope that you find this summary to be a useful resource and a good starting point in your review of the Wet Weather Plan. Please feel free to share it with your engineer and council members.  Note that the public comment period for the Wet Weather Plan ends on October 19, 2012.  Below is the link to the ALCOSAN website with the full Plan and the schedule of the remaining public meetings.   http://www.alcosan.org/WetWeatherIssues/ALCOSANDraftWetWeatherPlan/tabid/175/Default.aspx

September 2012

Registration is now open for the 14th Annual 3 Rivers Wet Weather Sewer Conference on October 17-18 at the Monroeville Convention Center.  Check out the conference brochure and register yourself and/or your public works and engineering staff for this educational two-day event.  The registration fee is only $70 (by October 3) and includes all conference materials and meals for both days.  Certified wastewater operators can earn up to four continuing education units and licensed professional engineers may earn continuing education credit as well.  The conference agenda features Keynote Speaker Stephen Cropper, chief meteorologist for WPXI-TV, who will share his experience forecasting and reporting on the weather in our region for the last 20 years, along with many regional and national wet weather experts who will share their experience on the sewage and stormwater overflow issue as well as green infrastructure solutions.  More than 60 exhibitors will be on hand to demonstrate or discuss their products and services.  Printed copies of the conference brochure will be mailed shortly, but don’t delay.  Online registration and payment is quick and easy, so register today!

August 2012

ALCOSAN Wet Weather Plan
On July 31, ALCOSAN released its draft long-term Wet Weather Plan (WWP) for public review and comment.  ALCOSAN’s consultant, CDM Smith, will give a presentation about the plan at the next 3 Rivers Wet Weather Feasibility Study Work Group (FSWG) meeting in August.  After discussion, the FSWG may provide ALCOSAN with comments. In addition, we recommend that municipal managers and elected officials also review the WWP for the work proposed by ALCOSAN that may impact your municipality. The comment period will extend until October 19. Check the ALCOSAN website, www.alcosan.org  for plan details and a complete schedule of related public meetings. 

Sewer Rate Survey
3 Rivers has completed its 2012 update of sewer rates in the ALCOSAN service area. 

If you have questions about the study, please contact John Schombert, Executive Director, jschombert@3rww.org, (412) 578-7962.

July 2012

On  June 12, 3 Rivers Wet Weather launched a new website full of up-to-date information, resources and interactive tools, including the Municipal Data Support (MDS) tool, where you can find information on feasibility studies, flow monitoring and comprehensive sewer maps of the ALCOSAN service area.

Some of the features of the new 3RWW website include not only a new design, but updated content, easy navigation and a single login process that provides users with access to multiple tools, including MDS, rainfall data and RainWays, our new interactive green infrastructure tool.  You or someone on your staff may already have an MDS username and password, which can be used on the new site.  However, if you still have a non-email user name, your user name will now be the email associated with your account. 

If you do not have an account, you can still access nearly all of the resources available at www.3riverswetweather.org , but if you would like to save settings when using the site’s tools, it’s quick and easy to create a basic account or request higher level access to the MDS or RainWays Engineers/Planners tools.  Simply click on “create account” from the home page and follow the instructions.  We welcome your feedback on the new site, and if you experience any problems or have questions please contact Tracy Schubert  (tschubert@3rww.org or call 412-578-8197)

June 2012

ALCOSAN has requested a DRAFT Feasibility Study be submitted by resolution by July 31, 2012 for approximately 57 municipalities in 48 complex sewersheds that have multi-municipal points of connection to the ALCOSAN system.  FINAL Municipal Feasibility Studies for wet weather control alternatives are due to ACHD or PADEP in July 2013. 

If your community is in a complex sewershed, you may wish to review information being prepared by your municipal engineer to see if the following items are addressed:

  • A list of municipalities in your complex sewershed(s).
  • The lead municipality submitting the Feasibility Study.
  •  A description of the sewershed.
  • A description of the deficiencies in the sewershed.
  •  A detailed description of the current leading alternatives for controlling wet weather flow.
  • Anticipated municipal flow to be conveyed to the ALCOSAN system.
  • Range of costs associated with the leading alternatives and level of design storm.
  • Source reduction/green infrastructure strategies that were evaluated.

This is an overview of key elements, but is not a complete list.  ACHD and PaDEP also recently sent to communities a guidance document for the Final Feasibility Studies due in July 2013. If you have additional questions, contact your municipal engineer or Jerry Brown, jbrown@3rww.org, (412) 578-8374.

May 2012

In November, ALCOSAN distributed a letter to municipalities in “complex” sewersheds requesting submission of a single comprehensive draft Feasibility Study by point of connection to ALCOSAN no later than July 31, 2012.  ALCOSAN also requested that each municipal council (or Authority as appropriate) indicate by resolution that they have reviewed the draft Feasibility Study.  The engineers in attendance at the April 12 Feasibility Study Work meeting reviewed the resolution and by consensus approved it for distribution.  If your municipality is part of a complex sewershed, you may wish to use this resolution as a template. ALCOSAN’s request was also discussed at 3RWW’s Municipal Solicitors’ meeting on April 19 and copies of the resolution were provided to the attendees. If you did not receive a letter from ALCOSAN  in November, your final Feasibility Study will be due to either PaDEP or ACHD by July 2013.  

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Jerry Brown, jbrown@3rww.org, (412) 578-8374.  

April 2012

As elected officials have an important role in the wet weather planning process that will occur over the next couple of years for your community, 3 Rivers Wet Weather will begin the Elected Officials’ Basin Group meetings once again.

Over the next two years, elected officials will need to make major decisions on the selection of wet weather controls and cost allocations among communities.  In preparation for each community’s Feasibility Study submission to PADEP/ACHD by June 2013, municipal engineers will provide local elected officials with the alternatives and costs over the next several months. For many municipalities, it will be necessary to work closely with neighboring communities to fairly allocate costs for these controls.

To help elected officials with these critical decisions, we have scheduled the following meetings:

  • Eastern Basin Group – 7:00 p.m. on Monday May 21, 2012, Turtle Creek Municipal Building (location to be confirmed)
  • Northern Basin Group – 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, 2012, Shaler Municipal Building
  • Southern Basin Group – 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, 2012, Green Tree Municipal Building

(Earlier this month, we requested information from your community on your Basin Group representatives who will attend. If you have not yet sent your information, please forward to Jodi Gamble, jgamble@3rww.org) If you have questions about the wet weather planning process, please contact Jerry Brown at 3RWW (jbrown@3rww.org or 412-578-8374). 

March 2012

The Allegheny League of Municipalities’ (ALOM) Annual Spring Conference is rapidly approaching. Weencourage you and your elected officials to attend this three-day informational event, March 29-April 1, at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. 3 Rivers Wet Weather and ALCOSAN will present to an anticipated audience of 300 on Friday, March 30 at 1:30 p.m. ALCOSAN will also have a booth in the exhibit hall. Both the presentation and exhibit will provide municipal managers and elected officials with important and timely updates on the wet weather planning process. 

A registration discount of 25% will be offered to first-time registrants and newly elected officials. (If you have not attended the Spring Conference since 2009, you qualify for the first-time attendee discount.)

If you are unable to attend the entire conference, a one-day registration is available.For more information or to register, go to the ALOM website.

February 2012

Our January Manager’s Minute focused on the Feasibility Studies that municipalities must submit to the regulatory agencies by July 2013. In keeping with this topic, we want to update you on a Feasibility Study guidance document that the regulatory agencies provided to the municipal engineers at the January Feasibility Study Work Group Meeting. PADEP and the ACHD created a draft outline of the items that municipalities should address in their Feasibility Studies.  Although the municipalities and regulatory agencies aren’t bound by the content of the outline, it was designed to create technical uniformity, while helping municipalities meet consent order obligations. We strongly encourage you to consult with your engineer on this guidance document and the current status of your community in completing the items noted in the document.

Your municipal engineer may want to attend the February Feasibility Study Work Group Meeting (Feb. 9, 9 a.m. at the Greentree Municipal Building), at which time this draft guidance document will be discussed in greater detail. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this document or the Feasibility Study process, please contact Jerry Brown, Municipal Support Manager, at (412) 578-8374, or jbrown@3rww.org

January 2012

In preparation for the July2013 deadline for municipalities to submit their Feasibility Studies to the regulatory agencies, upcoming Manager’s Minutes will highlight items of particular relevance to you and your Boards.  Although July 2013 seems distant, you should allot time now for the extensive coordination required both within your municipality and in engaging your neighboring municipalities on the selection of alternatives and allocation of costs. You may also have received a request from ALCOSAN to submit a draft Feasibility Study to them by July 31, 2012. 

Activities Involving the Wet Weather Control Alternatives Plan

  • Municipalities have submitted to ALCOSAN an internal solution (controls within municipal boundaries, such as a storage tanks and increased conveyance capacities) to handle any capacity deficiencies.
  • Municipalities should be working with neighbors if they are part of a multi-municipal sewershed.
  • Municipalities should be looking at alternative ways to help reduce flow in their systems, such as by removing inflow/infiltration, and installing green infrastructure.
  • Estimates of the cost of these alternatives should be developed and reviewed by municipal managers and elected officials.

Any questions or concerns that you might have about the wet weather planning process, contact Jerry Brown, Municipal Support Manager, at (412) 578-8374, or jbrown@3rww.org