Photo by Tiara Strong Crafton commissioners came out on Aug. 13 to celebrate the groundbreaking of a multi-million dollar sewage project.
By Tiara Strong
A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Grandview Avenue Aug. 13 signaled the start of work underway for the Fountain Street and Woodlawn Avenue sewage separation project. Participating officials said it marked a momentous achievement for those who have been invested in this project over the years.
Speaking at the groundbreaking site on Woodlawn, Phillip Lavasseur, Crafton council president, dedicated his message to those who have helped the process along and reflected on the relevance of the project in light of recent weather patterns.
“The fact that we are able to be here, together, on this day, after we got three-quarters of an inch of rain last night and focus on the future to fix the real things that had to be worked on, is really amazing,” Lavasseur said. “From the bottom of my heart, this really means a lot to me personally.”
For years, sewage and drainage issues loomed over the borough. With the system lacking capacity to handle sewage overflows, untreated waste wound up in local waterways.
The groundbreaking event focused on one part of ongoing sewage separation projects. The Woodlawn and Fountain Street separation project will separate the current combined sewer system, steering storm water into the existing Chartiers Avenue storm pipe. In the process, 27 acres will be removed from the current combined sewage system.
The Crafton Boulevard sewage separation begun in May will remove 7.7 million gallons of stormwater each year. The project will also generate green space, improve the streetscape and construct a new eco-friendly parking lot across from Crafton Elementary School. In total, this will remove a 25-acre drainage area from the combined sewage system.
The South Grandview sewage separation project includes the installation of 740 feet of new storm sewer that will ultimately correct drainage flow. Streets in the surrounding area will be repaved with bituminous asphalt, which will help direct the flow correctly to the inlets.
Lavasseur had a long list of people to thank for contributing to the sewage separation efforts, including Mayor Jim Bloom, State Rep. Dan Deasy, ALCOSAN, the Crafton community and Public Works.
“I’ve got to give everyone who is on Public Works a round of applause for working overtime last night,” Lavasseur said. “Without you, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Council Vice President Coletta Perry was another face among the attendees at the ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking ceremony. Perry said she had been very invested in the Crafton sewage project over the years. She oversees the finance committee and makes sure projects of this kind are fiscally viable.
“I was able to save us a half a million dollars,” Perry said.
The GROW (Green Revitalization of Our Waterway) program is funding this project, awarding the borough approximately $4,720,000 to fix the ongoing combined sewage overflow issues. Crafton has also fronted more than $500,000 out-of-pocket for the project.