By Elizabeth Perry
ALCOSAN and McKees Rocks Borough have reached an agreement, bringing an end to nearly three years of litigation and mediation.
The dispute centered on the former Crivelli Chevrolet auto dealership located next to the Shoppes at Chartiers Plaza.
“I give ALCOSAN credit, because at the end of the day it was about the McKees Rocks Borough,” Council President Archie Brinza said.
Brinza credited ALCOSAN’s Kim Kennedy for working with the borough and creating the best deal for McKees Rocks, especially considering how far apart the entities were at the beginning of the process.
Ultimately, Brinza said ALCOSAN granted everything borough leaders wanted. In January of this year, McKees Rocks Borough Council members voted to allow ALCOSAN’s “Clean Water Project” to move forward, after publicly announcing concessions they were given by the Sewer Authority. At that time, Brinza said the borough would receive $20,000 annually until 2029, and the Sto-Rox School District was set to receive $53,000 annually until that date.
Gazette 2.0 has covered this issue since the beginning, and the following details of events have been previously reported.
After ALCOSAN purchased the property for $2,050,000 in November 2020, local officials in McKees Rocks brought a lawsuit to stop the erosion of the borough’s tax base, as ALCOSAN is an untaxed public entity. In January, Council President Archie Brinza said the borough had lost about $23,000 in taxes annually with the sale of the property. When lawmakers decided to begin litigation, they also feared the Crivelli building would be torn down, making construction difficult because of its location on a flood plain.
The borough approved $20,000 to bring legal action against ALCOSAN in 2020. The sewage authority attempted to have the suit thrown out in 2021, but a judge denied that action. A mediation process began in 2022.
Long before the purchase of the Crivelli property, ALCOSAN was compelled by a judge’s consent decree to modernize Pittsburgh’s sewer system in order to mitigate massive sewer overflows. More than 9 billion gallons of raw sewage pours into the confluence of rivers annually. The “Clean Water Plan,” will include a trio of tunnels running along the rivers, beginning with the “Ohio River Tunnel Project” going under the Ohio River to Chartiers Creek in McKees Rocks to ALCOSAN’s processing plant in Brighton Heights. The aim is to drastically reduce the raw sewage polluting local waterways, however, the plan only addresses 7 billion gallons of raw sewage. Construction is slated for January 2025, according to a press release from the water authority.
In 2010, the tunnel system was projected to cost at least $2 billion, but actual costs are yet to be known.
“We are looking forward to the success of the site project work and its completion,” Arletta Scott Williams, ALCOSAN executive director said via release.