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Environment & Energy

Follow Your Flush: ALCOSAN to Open Plant for Annual Event

Where does the sewage go when you flush your toilet?

The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority will show you that and more Saturday at its annual open house, featuring more than 40 exhibits about how to protect the region’s rivers and streams.

The event includes a Q&A session with a plumber, Environmental Jeopardy, a performance of "Little Mermaid’s Pollution Solution" by Gemini Theatre, a walk-through simulated sewer pipe and a tour of ALCOSAN’s facilities.

“The purpose is to inform, educate and celebrate water and the environment, and to let people know what is going on here at ALCOSAN,” said Jeanne Clark, public information officer for ALCOSAN.

Clark said attendees will get a chance to follow their flush, and discover what happens with the sewage once it goes down the drain.

“They’ll be able to stand and see where the water goes back into the river cleaner than the river is,” Clark said. “They’ll be able to see how the fish are really responding to where we put the clean water in.”

At the open house, ALCOSAN is asking people to sign a pledge to take action to help keep storm water from entering the sewer system. Under a federal consent decree, the agency is planning a $3 billion construction project to eliminate combined sewage overflow in the county.

“We have a big job ahead of us,” Clark said. “We have to bring our sewage systems throughout the region up to 21st century standards, and it’s going to take all of us to make sure that we don’t have storm water going into the sewers and that we’re keeping the rivers as clean as possible.”

The open house goes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking, lunch and admission are free.