Pittsburgh, PA – Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, along with the City of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) today declared September as the second-annual Sewer Awareness Month in Pittsburgh.
"Sewers, often taken for granted, are critical to thriving communities and public health. To acknowledge their importance, I am declaring September as Sewer Awareness Month in Pittsburgh,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey. “This month-long awareness campaign is an opportunity for everyone living, working, or visiting Pittsburgh to understand how vital sewer infrastructure is to a healthy community and to do their part to keep our sewers flowing.”
Properly functioning sewers are essential to public health and safety, as well as maintaining a healthy environment by diverting stormwater and sewage to ALCOSAN’s wastewater treatment plant that would otherwise overflow our streams and rivers. This is often an overlooked aspect of our system that we take for granted, as sewers are located underground where they are out of sight, and thereby out of mind for most of their beneficiaries.
Pittsburgh would be much different if not for our sewer system, which is why, for the second year in a row, the city is celebrating Sewer Awareness Month. This month-long spotlight on Pittsburgh’s sewer system will highlight the criticality of the infrastructure underground, detail how PWSA is making investments to defend the city’s drains and communities, and share helpful, small-scale actions we can all take to protect one of the most important systems we have.
“Sewers can be the often-forgotten workhorses of our water system. While they are out of sight for most people, they are critical to a thriving city,” PWSA CEO Will Pickering. “That’s why PWSA is investing tens of millions of dollars to improve our wastewater system. By celebrating our sewers this month, we ask each Pittsburgh resident, business owner, and visitor to recognize the essential service our sewers provide.”
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has several sewer projects underway, including: ongoing sewer lining across the service area; sewer relocation and reconstruction projects at Fuchsia Way in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood and other locations; and the Centre Avenue Sewer Replacement Project.
“ALCOSAN, too, is investing significant monies into upgrading our sewer infrastructure,” said Arletta Scott Williams, ALCOSAN Executive Director. “Through our Clean Water Plan, over the next 15 years, we will significantly reduce the volume of overflows into our local waterways. From our current plant expansion projects at our North Side treatment facility, to the soon-to-be-constructed Regional Tunnel System to capture and move more wet weather flows to the plant, ALCOSAN is committed to both improving our rivers’ water quality and constructing infrastructure for the region’s future.”
Everyone in Pittsburgh can help keep the city’s 25,000+ storm drains clear and 1,200 miles of sewer lines flowing. PWSA asks residents to only flush toilet paper and human waste—private plumbing lines and public sewers were not designed to handle anything else, and the consequences of putting non-flushable items down the drain can be very messy and very costly. Learn how you can defend your drains at Pgh2o.com/defend-your-drains.
PWSA will release more information during September about how to protect our sewers. Follow along on social media using the hashtag #SewerAwarenessMonth.