In an October blog item, I talked about the significant work that has been going on “Behind the fence” at ALCOSAN. To increase the capacity of our wastewater treatment plant, we already have upgraded the main pumping station and built a new vehicle maintenance facility to make room for expansion in the middle of ALCOSAN’s property on the North Side.
But there is a lot more work to be done, and the public can learn more about the plan during ALCOSAN’s annual public meetings. Two sessions will be held on Tuesday, January 30, one at 10:30 a.m. and the other at 6:30 p.m. Both sessions will take place here at the plant.
Here’s a short summary of our expansion plan.
The current plant cannot handle enough flow to adequately reduce the volume of wastewater overflows into our rivers and streams. ALCOSAN is bound by agreements with federal, state and county regulators to reduce the volume of untreated overflows. Doing so is required, and it is the right thing to do. Improving the cleanliness of the public waterways contributes to the economic vitality and the livability of the region.
Expanding the treatment plant is a key component of the Clean Water Plan. It calls for increasing the capacity from the current maximum of 250 million gallons per day to 480 million gallons per day by 2025 and then to 600 million gallons at a date not yet estimated.
The next step will be demolition of the garage that was replaced by the new vehicle maintenance facility to allow for expansion. The plant expansion work, estimated to cost $335 million, is expected to begin in 2019. A new return-activated sludge pump station, new disinfection and two new secondary clarifiers will be installed, and the outfall – where treated wastewater is returned to the Ohio River – will be moved about 800 feet farther west, toward the McKees Rock Bridge.
Odor control facilities will be modified to accommodate the expansion. The plant expansion will take place on property already owned by ALCOSAN and within the plant’s gates.
I hope you will join me at the public meetings on January 30 and that you’ll read about more elements of our Clean Water Plan in the coming months.