By Chadwick Dolgos
Crafton has recently been awarded more than $4.7 million as part of the Green Revitalization of Our Waterways (GROW) program to alleviate water and sewage issues in the borough.
The Crafton Boulevard sewer separation project, which consists of separating portions of the combined stormwater and sewage lines on Clearview, Harris, Keever and Barr avenues and Sterrett Street was awarded $2.647 million. The borough is also awarded an additional $2,073 million for the Woodlawn and Fountain sewer separation, which consists of separating portions of the combined sewers along Fountain, Promenade, and Woodlawn streets.
The GROW program, implemented by the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN), is part of a long-term effort to provide cleaner waterways that comply with the regulations of the Clean Water Act and the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law.
The issue in Crafton is that too much water is entering the ALCOSAN system during winter months and rainstorms, triggering overflows of untreated wastewater into the rivers.
Proponents of the GROW program hope to reduce sewer overflow by 142 million gallons countywide.
President of the Crafton Borough Council Philip Levasseur joined Crafton Borough’s Planning Commission meeting on Oct. 27 to discuss his visit to Etna’s eco-district, the potential for more funding and what he hopes to do if Crafton is awarded additional funds.
“We had the opportunity to go to the Borough of Etna and learn a little bit of what they did with the eco-district,” said Levasseur. “They’re in an area that has historically flooded a lot, and they have had a distressed business district and real-estate in the area.”
Recognizing Etna and Crafton share similar problems, Levasseur hopes the planning commission will work alongside the council to formulate a plan to achieve grant money to pay for the changes he believes are necessary to attract new businesses and homeowners.
“It would be interesting for the planning commission to work with the council to explore what we can do in downtown Crafton to leverage some of these grants and come up with ideas and sort of formulate our own type of eco-district,” said Levasseur.
Levasseur asked the planning commission to look at what Etna did with the funding they received from the 319 grant program, a program that specifically focuses on nonpoint sources of water pollution.
“We have a landlocked part of our town that needs to be reinvested with stormwater infrastructure, and that stormwater infrastructure can be paid for through these 319 grants.”
Along with hopes of receiving additional grants and aid from the federal government, Levasseur would also like to team up with neighboring Ingram because of the similar issues the municipalities share.
“That’s another avenue of funding to help us explore how we can really re-envision our downtown and make it greener, and try to hold back the water in a way that will help out the overall system,” he said.
“We’re going to take a look at the 319 grant information, and we’re going to continue to talk about eco-districts, especially when we have joint meetings with Ingram,” concluded Lydia Herring, chairwoman of the planning commission.