Thursday, March 10, 2011

Local Environmental Groups Challenge Sewer Authorities

The Clean Water Action group along with Three Rivers Waterkeeper have joined in legal action against two sewer authorities in the region who have flushed unfiltered wastewater into the Monongahela River watershed.

The clean water environmental groups filed notice in federal court in Pittsburgh of their intent to sue the Municipal Authority of McKeesport and the Franklin Township Sewer Authority. The plaintiffs claim McKeesport’s wastewater goes directly into the Mon River and Franklin Township’s enters the 10-mile Creek which is a tributary of the river.

Steve Hvozdovich, Marcellus Shale policy associate for the CWA, says the main concern of this wastewater being dumped in the rivers is the chance that hazardous chemicals from the drilling sites will contaminate drinking water.

“The biggest concern is that the chemicals, metals and salts that these treatment facilities cannot properly remove will affect the quality of the Monongahela River which will ultimately affect the drinking water quality for nearly a million people in the Allegheny County area,” Hvozdovich says.

The groups are aiming to stall these authorities from accepting wastewater until the proper filtration machines can be installed. Hvozdovich also points out that the facilities need to acquire permits and hear public input on whether accepting wastewater should continue, something both McKeesport and Franklin Township have failed to do.

The groups hope the lawsuit deters other sewer authorities in the region from taking drilling wastewater in the future.

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