Header Image

2011 Manager's Minutes

February 2011

Currently, your municipal engineer should be working jointly with neighboring municipalities, as appropriate, in your sewershed on alternative analysis based on flow monitoring and ALCOSAN models. Alternative analysis is the process of evaluating options for managing excess wet weather flows from your community through conveyance to ALCOSAN or through a combination of other solutions, such as green infrastructure, source reduction and/or control facilities.  ALCOSAN has requested this information from municipalities.  Your council or board should be discussing these alternatives with your engineer. 3RWW is assisting communities in the more complex watersheds and can provide help and direction to any municipality that needs it.    For more information or to request 3RWW assistance, contact John Schombert. 

March 2011

In 2005, 3 Rivers Wet Weather created the online Municipal Data Support site to assist ALCOSAN communities in complying with their municipal consent orders. Over the last 5+ years, we have continued to expand the MDS site to be an even more valuable resource to municipalities.  If you, your public works staff or elected officials have not visited the site in a while, we encourage you to login for access to system-wide flow monitoring data, an agreement library, working papers on the development of the municipal feasibility studies, an asset information system and an interactive view of the region’s sewer maps on a Google Earth platform. To access the MDS site, visit www.3riverswetweather.org, click on Municipalities/Municipal Data Support and login with your assigned username and password.  If you need a username/password or have forgotten yours, follow the instructions on the login page. If you have any problems accessing the site or have any questions on the content, contact Jerry Brown at jbrown@3rww.org or 412-578-8374.   

April 2011

As you may be aware, ALCOSAN has requested information from its customer municipalities regarding sewer system alternatives to reduce overflows by conveying, storing or managing wastewater tributary to the ALCOSAN system. These planning level alternatives and their associated costs were requested to be submitted to ALCOSAN by April 30.  At the March 29 municipal solicitors’ luncheon sponsored by 3RWW, Bruce Herschlag, regional counsel for Pa DEP, assured solicitors that the information submitted to ALCOSAN would be considered planning level only and would not be used for the development of a future municipal implementation order.  We recommend that you add a specific line item to your April meeting agenda to discuss the status of the alternatives analysis for your municipality and to hear your solicitor’s viewpoint if they attended the March 29 meeting.  If you have any questions on this issue, contact Jerry Brown or John Schombert. (jbrown@3rww.org /412-578-8374 or jschombert@3rww.org /412-578-7962).

May 2011

By now your community has likely submitted to ALCOSAN sewer system potential alternatives contemplated for your municipality, or group of municipalities, if you share a point of connection to the ALCOSAN system with one or more of your neighbors.  Over the next few months, ALCOSAN and their Basin Planners with be reviewing the submitted alternatives and may be contacting you or your engineer for clarification.  While the information you have provided is important to the development of the Regional Wet Weather Plan, it is not considered to be your final plan for handling wet weather sewage flow. (Watch for more information on your final submission requirements in the June Manager’s Minute.)  ALCOSAN will produce a draft Wet Weather Plan to be distributed to tributary municipalities by July 2012 at which time there will be a municipal comment period.  ALCOSAN must then submit their Wet Weather Plan to the regulatory agencies by January 2013. If you have any questions on this issue, contact Jerry Brown or John Schombert. (jbrown@3rww.org /412-578-8374 or jschombert@3rww.org /412-578-7962).

June 2011

In order to comply with your ACO or COA, your community must submit your Feasibility Study to the regulatory agencies by the end of July 2013.  While this appears to be in the distant future, a significant amount of work may be required by the communities during this period to move their conceptual sewer system alternatives to a final strategy that will ultimately be incorporated into an implementation order upon regulatory approval.   The alternatives in many cases are quite expensive, so decisions will need to be made as to how your community might contemplate the ultimate implementation.  Should the alternatives involve multi-municipal cooperation, new or updated agreements are anticipated to be developed.  Source reduction or green alternatives might also be looked upon as part of the final municipal plans, even if they were not fully considered to date.  Finally, communities may need to consider different institutional options for constructing future sewer related capital projects and for on-going operation and maintenance of sewer systems.  3RWW will be supporting the future municipal efforts to comply with ACO’s or COA’s via the Feasibility Study Work Group.  If you have any questions on this issue, contact Jerry Brown or John Schombert. (jbrown@3rww.org /412-578-8374 or jschombert@3rww.org /412-578-7962).

July 2011

As you know, 3 Rivers Wet Weather has many municipal resources and tools available through its web site at www.3rww.org. As a reminder, there are additional resources you may find useful on ALCOSAN’s web site at www.alcosan.org. From their home page, you may log onto the municipal site with the user name and password ALCOSAN provided to each community when the municipal site first launched in 2009.  (If you do not know your user name and password, contact anne.murphy@alcosan.org to request it or set up a new account.)  ALCOSAN’s municipal site has information such as their consent decree submittals, the Municipal Connections newsletter, sample inspection and maintenance forms and detailed planning basin information.  From ALCOSAN’s main site, you can access other resources (without a user name and password), such as information on their SOAK program (Sewer Overflow Advisory Key), consent decree requirements, pollution prevention information and educational programs. One of ALCOSAN’s highly successful educational events—the treatment plant’s annual open house—is scheduled for September 17.  Plan to visit the open house and stop by the 3 Rivers Wet Weather booth for a quick update on our regional wet weather progress.  

August 2011

As a municipal manager, you are probably familiar with the ALCOSAN Customer Municipality Advisory Committee (CMAC), but you may not know that the committee was recently expanded from 14 members to 26.  Municipal managers and elected officials representing a broad cross-section of the 83 customer municipalities and each of the seven planning basins are appointed by the Allegheny County Chief Executive and meet quarterly.  In a leadership role, the CMAC assists ALCOSAN with municipal coordination and development of a long-term wet weather plan.  The CMAC uses a consensus-based process to provide guidance and feedback from their representative populations, the municipalities and rate payers.  Their roles and responsibilities include municipal advocacy and this committee provides a forum for a collective discussion on municipal concerns.  

See the attached list of the current CMAC membership which includes their contact information.  Please provide this information to your elected officials.  We encourage you to contact your planning basin CMAC representative(s) to discuss ideas and issues associated with ALCOSAN’s Consent Decree and your municipal consent orders.  

September 2011

As you may be aware, the 13th Annual 3 Rivers Wet Weather Sewer Conference on October 4-5 at the Monroeville Convention Center is rapidly approaching and now is the time to register yourself and/or your public works and engineering staff for this educational two-day event.  The registration fee is only $70 (by September 20) and includes all handouts, giveaways 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.  In addition to its educational value, the conference is also a great place to catch up with your neighboring municipalities to share information and success stories.  

The conference agenda features Keynote Speaker Brian O’Neill, an award-winning Post-Gazette columnist and local author, along with many regional and national wet weather experts who will share their experience on topics such as finances, stormwater limits, green solutions, consolidation of the sewer system, and rehabilitation techniques.  About 60 exhibitors will be on hand to demonstrate or discuss their products and services.  For more information about the conference or to view the entire agenda and exhibit hall map, visit www.3riverswetweather.org

October 2011

The municipal engineers have made good progress in evaluating the gray alternatives for control of sewer overflows, and it is now a good time to look at options to infiltrate stormwater to reduce volume and improve the water quality of the stormwater runoff.  3RWW has been providing information to the engineers on various green infrastructure options, such as green roofs and pervious pavement as part of the Feasibility Study Work Group meetings.  A recent meeting provided information on the use of pervious pavement in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  And yes, it can indeed be used here with great success.  

Municipalities across the United States are increasingly turning to pervious pavement over conventional pavement for its design flexibility, durability, and aesthetic value. Refer to the links below to get started, and feel free to contact 3RWW for additional information and resources on pervious pavement, or other green infrastructure.  

Permeable Pavers
http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/menuofbmps/index.cfm?action=browse&rbutton=detail&bmp=136&minmeasure=5

Porous Asphalt Pavement
http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/menuofbmps/index.cfm?action=browse&Rbutton=detail&bmp=135&minmeasure=5

Pervious Concrete Pavement
http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/menuofbmps/index.cfm?action=factsheet_results&view=specific&bmp=137&minmeasure=5

http://www.specifyconcrete.org/specification-resources/pervious-concrete/ 
(This Specify Concrete website has informational articles, specs/details, a list of certified installers in Pennsylvania, etc.  A very useful resource.)

November 2011

It’s that time of year when municipal budgets are being finalized, and managers and elected officials need to determine sewer rates for the upcoming year.  While ALCOSAN has not yet released any rate modifications for 2012, we know municipal managers are always interested in sewer rates of neighboring communities, so we have attached our compilation of 2011 municipal sewer rates in the ALCOSAN service area.  The rates are based upon 15,000 gallons of water consumption per quarter and cover all charges, including ALCOSAN fees.  In the 2011 comparison, we also made a correlation between residential rates as compared with Median Household Income (MHI) for each community.  This is a very rudimentary comparison and it may not accurately reflect the true % MHI if your sewer rates do not fully cover your cost of sewer operations (i.e. many communities cover a portion of their sewer O&M costs with other revenue sources besides sewer bills).  We recommend that you make a determination as to whether your sewer billings are sufficient to meet your overall sewer expenditures. We have also attached a budget template to help you determine your actual sewer operations and maintenance costs. Additional sewer rate information is available on the 3RWW website. 

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact 3RWW Municipal Support Manager Jerry Brown at jbrown@3rww.org

December 2011

Don’t miss this opportunity to attend a FREE webinar on Stormwater Inspection & Maintenance at 3 Rivers Wet Weather, December 13 from 2-3 p.m. Maintenance of stormwater systems has always been a challenge for municipalities and with future regulatory requirements to manage the volume and quality of stormwater just around the corner, it’s more critical than ever before.  This webinar, presented by Research Fellow Andrew J. Erickson, M.S., P.E.  at the University of Minnesota, will focus on standardized stormwater inspection methods and performance assessment, and how to use these to select and schedule effective maintenance on stormwater treatment practices, including stormwater ponds, bioretention facilities, infiltration basins, swales, and filter strips. 

Who should attend:  Stormwater professionals including engineers and public works superintendents who are interested in maximizing their stormwater investment through proper preventative and ongoing maintenance, as well as those new to stormwater practices.  

Where:  3 Rivers Wet Weather Conference Room, 3901 Penn Avenue, Building 3, Pittsburgh, PA  15224

Credits: 1 PDH and/or 0.1 CEU

To register for this free webinar, contact Jodi Gamble at jgamble@3rww.org or 412-578-8375.  If you would like to attend the webinar from your own site, you will need to register online and pay the $59 fee.  For full details on this webinar, visit the website:  

http://www.stormh2o.com/events/foresteru-webinar-stormwater-inspection-and-maintenance-884.aspx?ht