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ARLETTA WILLIAMS says ALCOSAN will be spending $2 billion over the next 20 years and all of its purchasing and contracting is handled in-house. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

Given that the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, ALCOSAN, is going to be issuing more than $3.6 billion in contracts to update facilities to comply with federal clean water requirements, executive director Arletta Scott Williams was somewhat surprised that the African American Chamber of Commerce PowerBreakfast audience she addressed last week wasn’t larger.

“We’re going to spend a lot of money. Some contracts have already been awarded—our project representative, a liaison: $680,000 over two years; the project director: $14 million; the plan programmer: $9 million, and the program: $14 million,” she said.

“If you don’t position yourself to get in with some of these firms, then shame on you. We have two projects under way now—demolishing and replacing (with a much bigger installation) our operations and maintenance building. The second part of that is utility installation and relocation. We have firms heading those up that you need to tie into.”

The “plan,” which Williams said she used to call “the predicament,” is a mandate to keep storm water runoff from inundating existing treatment facilities and causing raw sewage to enter the rivers and polluting downstream water supplies.

Many of the municipalities in the ACLOSAN system, including Pittsburgh, have a single pipe carrying rainwater and sewage. But even in those that don’t, the rainwater carries road tar, road salt, debris and agricultural chemicals with it. To do that, ALCOSAN must nearly triple its capacity to address this, from treating 250 million gallons of wastewater per day to treating more than 600 million gallons daily.

Much of the work will be done in the municipalities outside Pittsburgh that feed into the treatment center under the McKees Rocks Bridge. Knowing what that entails, who is directing it, and how to contact them is all information the authority can provide.

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