Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Report on sewage

Report on sewage to be released A National Academy of Sciences report scheduled for release this week will make recommendations on how hundreds of municipalities in 11 counties can cooperate to halt the sewage pollution that is fouling southwestern Pennsylvania's rivers and streams.

A major component of the report will address how that cooperation could trim millions from the estimated $10 billion cost -- $3 billion in Allegheny County alone -- of repairing aging, broken sewer systems that spill raw sewage every time it rains and threaten the region's public health, environment and image.

Pittsburgh's dance with the rivers is an often pondered issue. But, really, this river and city connection is more like a fad that comes and goes with the wind.

Mayor Murphy's claim of making riverfront development is more like a joke and less than truthful.

Okay, we've got the Convention Center. It faces the river. I has an under floor level water treatment that costs more than all the swim pools in the city -- and it broke last year. It has no functional purpose.

Okay, we've got Heinz Field -- by the river and with a city-scape view, if you can see around the massive scoreboard.

Okay, we've got a Jail Trail, but that's hardly a river's edge thing as it is squeezed between the bluff and Parkway East.

Then again, there are some blueprints for a re-do of the Mon Warf and the bypass by the parkway again. Might as well try to connect that to the Mon Valley Toll Way, but that's another story.

These efforts along the river net a letter grade of "D+" at best in my book. We can do much, much more. And, before we do the expensive things along the edge of the rivers, besides the new jail, we need to make sure our water gets to where it should and our waste doesn't mingle along the way.

We have serious infrastructure problems. The Democrats in town and in the county have been doing their best to ignore these serious problems.

Let's look for that report as it comes. Let's not ignore important elements -- such as infrascructure. Sure, it isn't sexy. But is is mandatory.

Our wants and our needs are not the same. Mature people understand those distinctions.

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