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Environment & Energy

Study To Look At Reverting Negley Run Into Natural Stream To Help With Sewage Overflow

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University of Pittsburgh


Officials want to find out if making Negley Run back into an open stream will help reduce sewage overflow when it rains.

Area water management utilities, along with local, state and federal governments continue to work on infrastructure upgrades that will drastically reduce the amount of raw sewage that overflows into area rivers during wet weather. 

That’s why the Army Corps of Engineers announced in December it would contribute $1 million to help fund a study on Negley Run.

“Taking a look at some early stages of taking the stream, which is culverted right now, and daylighting it,” said Brendan Schubert, a spokesman with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, which is also funding the study.

What was once a stream that connected Squirrel Hill to the Allegheny River, is now a controlled waterway encapsulated into a sewer pipe. Starting in the early 1800s, the stream was rerouted, straightened and covered, or culverted.

“Daylighting just means that it’s taking it out of the pipe and making it a natural stream as it was for many years, and intended to be,” said Schubert.

Doing so, said Schubert, would increase the capacity it can carry and therefore reduce overflow during extended periods of wet weather. It’s one of several measures being considered as officials look to both gray and green infrastructure upgrades.

In addition to the Army Corps of Engineers'$1 million for the study and start of the project, PWSA is putting in an additional $250,000. Schubert said the study will likely get underway sometime in the first quarter of 2016.