Borrowing for DEP Consent Decree
Forced to satisfy a consent decree from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Baldwin Borough Council is expected to approve a $14,175,000 general obligation bond issue on Oct. 16 that includes $9.7 million marked for sewer projects.
Of the $9.7 million, $8.7 million is for a large water basin project near Colewood Park that includes the installation of a long stretch of pipeline that would run from roughly Hollowhaven Drive to the railway that crosses Horning Road.
DEP officials have deemed that sewage water from south Baldwin and the nearby municipalities that also contribute to the Lick Run waterway has led to overflow in a Pleasant Hills Authority water treatment plant.
The Colewood basin would temporarily hold sewage water during periods of wet weather. Those periods cause an increase in sewage water flow for municipalities around Pittsburgh's South Hills area due to a number of reasons—leaky sewage pipes being infiltrated by rain, homes set up to dispense of storm water and sewage water in the same way, and others. Watch an animation on the 3 Rivers Wet Weather website for further explanation.
The other $1 million of the $9.7 million is for line replacements and repairs all over the borough, not just for lines connected to Lick Run, borough engineer Larry Souleret said.
Souleret said that those replacements and repairs are also required by the consent decree, but borough Manager John Barrett pointed out that DEP officials could still require Baldwin's leaders to do more.
"I always rant about the DEP," Baldwin Councilman Michael Stelmasczyk said at a borough agenda meeting on Tuesday night, "but here they are forcing us into these consent orders. And then, we move on it, and then, they're gonna second-guess us and say, 'That's not enough.'
"We have to move (start preparing for this project)."
Stelmasczyk has been critical of the DEP's power to force local governments into sewer projects.
"It's crazy," he said. "It's costing our rate-payers a ton of money."
The rest of the $14-million-plus bond is intended for other borough projects and includes the bundling of approximately $4 million already borrowed.
In other sewage news, Souleret will be given a half-hour of public time, starting at 7 p.m., before the next Baldwin Council meeting to discuss the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN)'s wet weather plan.
ALCOSAN must reduce, in its system, the amount of sewage entering clean waterways so that it can also be in compliance with the DEP.
Since ALCOSAN is a sewage service provider of Baldwin's, and its rates could rise as a result of the compliance, Baldwin property owners could be looking at much higher sewage bills.
Baldwin Mayor Alexander R. Bennett Jr. said that the borough's annual Halloween party will be held on Saturday, Oct. 20, in the borough municipal building along Churchview Avenue from noon to 3 p.m.
The event features games, prizes, a pumpkin patch, face-painting, balloon twisters, a haunted log home, candy, other treats and much more.
Bennett said that trick-or-treating in Baldwin Borough this year will be on Halloween night (a Wednesday) from 6 to 8.
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