After recent reports of sewer contents draining into the creek behind CVS, the Borough took immediate action to resolve this particular problem, however, due to the aged infrastructure of the Borough it is likely there are more overflows that will need to be addressed.
It was not uncommon for cities and towns to be built with combined sewer systems- something that is now being eradicated due to the sanitary issues they cause.
According to a Pittsburgh water company’s website, “the City of Pittsburgh’s sewer system is primarily composed of combined sewers, which means that storm water and sewage are carried in a single pipe. During heavy rain events, excess water can overload the sewage system resulting in untreated sewage flowing into our streams and rivers.”
Sewage overflows cause a health concern to not only humans, but wildlife as well- due to this, drinking from, swimming in, or eating fish caught from affected water is not recommended.
Bob Villella, the Borough Manager provided the following information on recently reported overflow:
“Once the Borough received information regarding the sanitary sewer overflow to the storm sewer system located on Fifth Street, upstream of the intersection of Fifth Street and Spring Street, they immediately contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The initial report of the overflow was made on April 7th, 2016 and the letter was sent to the Department on September 9th, 2016 establishing that the Borough had monitored the overflow pipe during rain events and no overflows occurred. The Borough also identified gravel and debris which was believed to restrict line capacity and consequently caused the manhole to surcharge up into the sanitary sewer overflow pipe. All gravel and debris have been removed and disposed of at a certified dump. This should not be a problem in the future.
This is not unusual in every Pennsylvania community, and perhaps on a national level. Ellwood Borough has been making efforts to address these situations through the use of the installation of cured in place pipe lining. In the past several years the Borough has been proactive in addressing these situations where they are identified. In fact, the Borough will be addressing a similar problem under the 5th Street Underpass, whereby through further investigation line breaks have also been identified and will also be addressed through cured in place pipe lining.
Further, the Borough will be applying for a Grant to secure upwards of $500,000 to address these problem. The community should also be aware of the Borough’s proactive stance towards addressing storm water issues and that the Borough has identified Bell Avenue as an area in need of storm water management through the installation of storm sewers and catch basins.”
It looks like the community can look forward to an increase of sanitary water sources in the near future.