Wet Weather Program
120 Logans Ferry Road,
New Kensington, PA 15068
Phone 724.335.9813
Fax 724.335.8289

As is the case with most northeastern communities in the U.S., parts of the sewer system that is tributary to the MSANK wastewater treatment plant were constructed a long time ago and are now antiquated. The aging of sewer infrastructure can result in many issues ranging from poor structural condition of pipes and manholes to challenges in operating the system to comply with current-day regulatory policy that was not in place when the sewers were originally designed and constructed. One of the largest challenges with antiquated sewer systems is the need to manage excessive storm water that enters the sewers when it is raining or during snow melt. When there is no rainfall or snow melt occurring, the sewage collection system, which transports wastewater from thousands of homes to the wastewater treatment plant, operates effectively. But when it rains or when snow melts, extra storm water gets into the sewage collection system through direct connections and/or through leaky, cracked pipes and manholes. This extra volume of storm water overloads the sewage collection system pipes and raw sewage may overflow before it reaches the treatment plant - into basements, streets, rivers, and streams. The wet weather issue in the sewer systems that are tributary to the MSANK wastewater treatment plant is related to both combined sewers and separate sewers.

Combined Sewer System



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Some parts of the sewer collection system that are tributary to the MSANK wastewater treatment plant were constructed as a Combined Sewer System. This type of sewer system collects both rain water runoff and wastewater from homes and businesses within the same pipe. The combined sewers bring the combined wastewater to the wastewater treatment plant for proper treatment prior to discharge to the river. During larger rain storms or snow melts, however, the combined wastewater is collected at a rate beyond the capacity of some sewers and the treatment plant, and therefore some of this mixture overflows to the river. These overflow locations are called Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) and were installed and permitted as part of the original sewer system to protect residents and business from sewer back-ups into basements. Because combined sewer overflows are a mixture of rain water runoff and wastewater, the discharges contain pollutants that are associated with the wastewater from homes and businesses. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are 772 communities in the United States that have Combined Sewer Systems.

Separate Sewer System



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The sewer collection system that is tributary to the MSANK wastewater treatment plant is predominately a Separate Sewer System. Separate sewer systems collect wastewater from homes and businesses in pipes that are separate from storm water pipes. The separate sewer system routes the wastewater to the wastewater treatment plant for proper treatment prior to discharge to the river, however these sewer systems may exhibit poor performance due to a variety of factors that include structural and hydraulic deficiencies. Many of these deficiencies are the source of rain water inflow and infiltration to the sewers, which can result in wastewater being collected at a rate beyond the capacity of some sewers and the treatment plant. In some cases, where the rain water inflow and infiltration to the sewers is excessive, the mixture of wastewater is spilled from the sewer system without treatment. These spills are called a Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO) and can occur at many different types of locations, including an emergency overflow structure or through the lid of a sewer manhole. The untreated sewage from these overflows can contaminate our waters, causing serious water quality problems. It can also back-up into basements, causing property damage and threatening public health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are at least 40,000 SSOs each year throughout the U.S.
The MSANK Wastewater Collection System

The MSANK wastewater collection system is a network of gravity sewers, force-mains, and pump stations in the City of New Kensington that convey wastewater to the MSANK wastewater treatment plant. The MSANK wastewater water collection system also receives wastewater from sewer systems located in Plum Borough, the City of Lower Burrell and the City of Arnold. These sewer systems are owned and operated by the respective municipalities however their flows are conveyed into the MSANK system and to the MSANK wastewater treatment plant.



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  Within the City of New Kensington, the wastewater collection system consists of approximately 63 miles of combined and separate sanitary sewer lines ranging in size from 8-inches to 48-inches, and with three primary wastewater pumping stations: 1) Valley Camp PS; 2) Linden Avenue PS; and 3) Days Inn PS. The collection system network converges at the MSANK wastewater treatment plant where the flow is pumped into the treatment facilities. There are six combined sewer overflow (CSO) locations in the City of New Kensington, which are located adjacent to, and overflow to the Allegheny River. There are additional CSO locations within the City of Arnold that are owned and operated by the City of Arnold.
How is MSANK Addressing the Wet Weather Issue?

The wet weather issue, to varying degrees, resides in each of the communities that are tributary to the MSANK wastewater treatment plant. Combined sewer overflows, as well as the pollutants discharged, must be controlled in accordance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Combined Sewer Overflow Policy. Sanitary sewer overflows must be controlled in accordance with the Clean Water Act. Over the next several years our communities will be performing the work to meet a series of requirements for developing a comprehensive wet weather management plan. Plan development includes sewer system mapping, flow monitoring, planning, designing, and constructing improvements to the existing system. Close municipal cooperation, public awareness, and community support are all required to meet the plan development schedule.