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Alcosan

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Thread: Alcosan

  1. #1
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    Post Alcosan

    Thought this might be of some interest to some people here. Two guys from Alcosan will be on our Showcase Pittsburgh show tomorrow morning. It's got a little information you may or may not know. If you have some free time, the segment should start somewhere between 9:45 and 9:50 on KDKA.

    I know I forgot something in this post, so if you have any question leave a reply and I will try and help.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2008
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    Isle of Neville
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    Default

    Thanks for letting us know about this.

    For those who cannot watch at that time, will they post the segment online anywhere?

  3. #3
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Web

    It will be posted somewhere on KDKA.com but I can never find anything on there, maybe you'll have better luck. I'm not sure when it will be posted, probably tomorrow afternoon or Monday, I'll keep an eye out for it.



  4. #4
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    Apr 2009
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    Exclamation Found it

    Its up on the top right the fourth video from the left:

    http://kdka.com/advbusinessshowcase

  5. #5
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    Default

    I'm vastly ignorant of how these thing work, but I question why they're getting 20 years to fix a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place. If I owned a company and every time it rained my company dumped millions of gallons of untreated pollution into the river, how long do you think they'd give me to fix it?

    What makes it acceptable that it flows into the river just because they're close to the river? My local sewage treatment plant isn't near the river, so when it rains, there is no place to let overflow go. Why can't Alcosan do that? Again, I'm petty ignorant of sewage treatment. Just tossing out questions. I think the guy asking the question in that segment sort of let the Alcosan guy off the hook. I think most peoples natural reaction to that would be different...

    Alcosan guy: "So, when it rains, all the waste gets dumped straight into the river because we didn't design out system to work in the rain."

    Reasonable people: "WTF?!? You operate a utility in Western PA and no one thought that it may rain here and you'd have to operate in the rain? The electric company somehow managed to design a system that works in the rain. What the hell is wrong with you people. When it rains you're dumping raw liquid crap into our river system and you needed federal and state government to tell you that is a bad idea?"

    Don't get me wrong, I'm far from a tree hugging hippie. But am I assuming too much here? If they're given 20 years to fix it, and they know everytime it rains they can save money by just letting sewage flow into the river for the next 20 years, why bother? It won't get fixed until the 19th year, 364th day.

  6. #6

    Default

    And the best/worst part of all that is surely Alcosan isnt the only sewage plant with the same deal and problems, They are big thats why you hear about them.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2010
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    Greensburg, PA
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    Default

    Your point is well taken, but please consider:

    ALCOSAN isn't a business. They are a municipal authority that was created to consolidate and tie together many municipal sewer system. Some of these are over 100 years old. What we call sewage treatment today (digestion of the material) onlty started in the 1970's. In tha bad old days, sewage and storm runoff all went into the same pipe, and it all went into the river.

    On a good day, ALCOSAN process 225 million gallons of sewage. When we get a lot of rain, that figure increases dramatically and the sewer systems and plant can't handle it. It overflows out of sewage pipe structures all over the area and flows into creeks and streams, eventually finding its way to the rivers.

    This is a tough problem. It can be fixed, but the cost is ruinous. I read an estimate that to fix the problem in the ALCOSAN system would take between 25 and 50 BILLION dollars. Divide that by the approx. 1.2 million people in Allegheny County and you get between 2100 and 4200 dollars for every man, woman and child in the county.

    If I was a businessman faced with that kind of bill, I would fold my tent and go home. But ALCOSAN can't quit and go out of business. As long as there are people in Allegheny County, the sewage will keep coming. As long as the rain falls, it will overwhelm the system. All they can do is keep improving and upgrading the system in bits and pieces as the funds and resources allow.

    I don't work for ALCOSAN, and I'm not defending their business practices. Maybe they waste money, maybe they don't do everything they could to address the problem. I don't know. What I do know though it that is is a huge problem not entirely of their making and it will take a long time to resolve. We need to keep it in perspective.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Willy View Post
    On a good day, ALCOSAN process 225 million gallons of sewage. When we get a lot of rain, that figure increases dramatically and the sewer systems and plant can't handle it. It overflows out of sewage pipe structures all over the area and flows into creeks and streams, eventually finding its way to the rivers.

    I'm not disputing what you say. But answer this: Does every sewage system have this problem? Do the sewers in New York or San Francisco dump millions of gallons into the rivers and oceans when it rains? I realize we're dealing with a system that is 100 years old. But that just means that they've had 100 years to improve this. Or at the very least, they've had since the 70's to fix it, since thats when modern sewage treatment began.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2010
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    Greensburg, PA
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    Those system may indeed have this problem. Any place where the infrastructure is old is likely to have this trouble. Driveway drains, downspouts - when I grew up in Penn Hills, all of the houses dumped this storm water into the sanitary system. The township launched a campaign of dye and smoke testing to force the homeowners to disconnect these rainwater systems from the sewers, but it wasn't entirely successful. It is terribly expensive both for the homeowners and the municipalities. It would have been better if the systems were separate from the design phase, but they weren't and this is the problem we are stuck with.

    ALCOSAN has about doubled their treatment capacity from the time the plant was first built, but the pipes coming from all of the municipalities are by and large the same.

    ALCOSAN isn't the only system with CSO problems by any means. I think almost any system has this problem to some extent - and the older the system, the worse the problem is. And, Allegheny County has gotten smaller and poorer since the 70's.

    Again, not defending the present or prior lack of action. I'm just trying to be realistic about how fast the situation can be remedied.



  10. #10
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    Sep 2008
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    Cranberry
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    That's the biggest issue, stormwater should not be routed through sanitary systems. New communities and this via storwater run off areas, like swales etc.
    2013 Chaparral 206SSI

  11. #11
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    May 2008
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    Pine Twp.
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    [QUOTE=nitsuj;4978]What makes it acceptable that it flows into the river just because they're close to the river? My local sewage treatment plant isn't near the river, so when it rains, there is no place to let overflow go. Why can't Alcosan do that? Again, I'm petty ignorant of sewage treatment. Just tossing out questions. I think the guy asking the question in that segment sort of let the Alcosan guy off the hook. I think most peoples natural reaction to that would be different.../QUOTE]

    Your local sewage plant might not be near a river, but it is close to the Connoquenessing Creek. I am sure that if you do some research, they have overflows as well. When it does, it flows past Zelienople and Ellwood City and into the Beaver River. We just hear about ALCOSAN because they are the largest treatment plant in the area. Penn Hills dumped into the Allegheny River for years and most recently Elizabeth Township was fined for dumping into the Yough just upstream from McKeesport. All of these plants have something in common, they are next to a stream, creek or river. The sewage plant is the lowest point in the serving area because we all know that sh!t flows downhill.

  12. #12

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    well said greg, s#!& does flow down hill



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