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The Congress of Neighboring Communities Receives 3 Rivers Wet Weather Grant to Examine Multijurisdictional Sewer Lines

The Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT) was recently selected as a recipient of an “Options for Regional Sewer System Management” award from 3 Rivers Wet Weather, an non-profit Lawrenceville-based organization committed to improving our region’s water quality. 

The $95,000 grant will be used to perform an analysis and develop recommendations for the operation, maintenance, management and financing for municipally owned  sewer lines located in the 19 CONNECT municipalities* that have a direct flow connection with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) and who are part of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) service area.  Currently, these connection points are governed by an assortment of formal and informal agreements separately negotiated by the PWSA and each individual municipality.  The “Congress of Neighboring Communities Multijurisdictional Sewer Connection Management Study,” will examine the cost and condition of these lines and the advantage/disadvantage of existing ownership approaches, and will propose alternative models of management and financing. 

“We are thrilled that this grant enables us to examine an issue that is common to 19 CONNECT communities,” said CONNECT associate director Kathy Risko. “This is the type of collaboration that was envisioned when CONNECT was created by its member municipalities.”

As part of the 3RWW grant, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council will assist CONNECT in data collection and consensus-building activities that will lead to the development of the recommendations.   

“The ALCOSAN communities are facing a public works challenge that will cost the region billions of dollars,” said John Schombert, executive director of 3 Rivers Wet Weather.  “Because this grant brings together 19 communities representing nearly 50% of the ALCOSAN system population, it is our hope that this analysis will produce more efficient, cost-effective approaches to sewer system management in our region.”

CONNECT will hire a management consultant to lead this effort. Adhering to the terms of the grant, the study will be completed no later than June 30, 2011.

*These municipalities include: Aspinwall Borough, Baldwin Borough, Baldwin Township, Brentwood Borough, Crafton Borough, Dormont Borough, Edgewood Borough, Green Tree Borough, Ingram Borough, Mount Lebanon, Mount Oliver Borough, Penn Hills, Reserve Township, Ross Township, Scott Township, Swissvale Borough, West Mifflin Borough, Whitehall Borough, and Wilkinsburg Borough.

About CONNECT – CONNECT, a program at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh was developed in 2009 as an effort to create a forum for local cooperation and to address mutual concerns and interests for the City of Pittsburgh and its bordering neighbors. CONNECT’s mission is to coordinate the activities of the city and these municipalities by advocating for and voicing the collective interests of the urban core and its 680,000 residents; developing and enhancing ways the 36 municipalities work together to deliver important public services; and maintaining a forum for the discussion, deliberation, and implementation of new ways to maximize economic prosperity for Western Pennsylvania. 


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