Going at it Alone?
Baldwin Borough engineers Larry Souleret and Ned Mitrovich gave the Baldwin Council some surprising news during Tuesday night's regular council meeting.
As a way of temporarily holding sewage water during periods of wet weather, Baldwin must move forward soon on a large water basin project adjacent to the Lick Run waterway, but it may have to do so without any involvement from Whitehall Borough, which also flows water to Lick Run.
The water basin project is needed to satisfy a consent decree from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), whose officials have deemed that sewage water from south Baldwin and the nearby municipalities that also contribute to the Lick Run waterway (near Colewood Park) has led to overflow in a Pleasant Hills Authority water treatment plant.
Mitrovich said on Tuesday, though, that his understanding from Whitehall engineer Ruthann L. Omer is that the Whitehall Council will elect to handle the consent decree on its own, meaning that Whitehall must somehow come up with a way to prevent its flow to Lick Run or to reduce it to a legally allowable minimum.
Until hearing that news, Souleret had been assuming that Whitehall would go along with the water basin project.
Omer said in an interview on Wednesday, "Whitehall will handle their flow either in a joint project with Baldwin or they're going to handle it on their own with a project within its (own) community. And they're (the Whitehall Council is) looking at that right now to see what direction they want to go.
"Regardless, something has to be done over there. They're considering going alone, but the final decision has not been made."
Omer estimated that Whitehall's contribution to Lick Run is, roughly, 3 or 4 percent of the waterway's total flow.
Souleret strongly suggested that Baldwin's and Whitehall's municipal leaders meet soon to discuss the Lick Run project.
"If they (Whitehall) go it alone, it reduces your (Baldwin's) cost," Souleret said, "because we were upsizing lines and storage components for the improvements to handle their additional flow. But at the same time, they have four connection points (to Lick Run). I don't know how they can get those four connection points all tied together and put in improvements that would handle or reduce the flow in a cost-effective way, but that's their decision.
"Maybe we can convince them otherwise."
Souleret also pointed out that the DEP would have to approve Whitehall's potential plan—whatever it may be—just as it would Baldwin's water basin project.
Baldwin Council Vice President Michael Stelmasczyk expressed concern that Whitehall may not be able to completely hold its flow out of Lick Run. Stelmasczyk suggested that Baldwin charge Whitehall a "conveyance fee" in such a case.
Zoning Hearing Board Expected to Enlarge
The Baldwin Council is expected to authorize an increase later this month in the amount of volunteers on the borough's Zoning Hearing Board.
The board currently has three seats, but borough Manager John Barrett is recommending an increase to five seats, saying that it is often hard to establish a legal quorum of three board members for zoning hearings.
When that increase becomes official, borough management will begin accepting résumés for the vacancies. For more information, call 412-882-9600.
Special Budget Meeting in December
The Baldwin Council has agreed to hold at least one more special meeting regarding the borough's 2013 budget.
That meeting will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m. in the council chambers of the borough municipal building along Churchview Avenue. The meeting is open to the public, and should circumstances dictate, it would be moved to the municipal auditorium of the same building.
Baldwin Borough Expected to Add Police Officer
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