What does a wastewater treatment facility have to do with Earth Day? Just about everything.

The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) provides services to 83 municipalities, and that means its plant on Pittsburgh’s North Side treats as much as 250 million gallons a day and returns it to the Ohio River. When that water splashed out of the plant, it is much cleaner than the water it joins in the waterway.

While that is ALCOSAN’s fundamental mission, it is not the only sound environmental practice being employed on a daily basis.

For example, incineration of solid waste at the plant generates about 24,000 pounds per hour of steam, which is used to heat parts of ALCOSAN’s 59-acre plant. Approximately 5 million gallons per day of treated effluent water is used for various operations, including exhaust scrubbing, cooling water and equipment cleaning. This reuse reduces the facility’s reliance on water it must purchase from the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

ALCOSAN also reuses some of the residuals from wastewater treatment to create a soil amendment called ALCOSOIL, which is used in land reclamation and as a supplement on farmland.

The eco-friendly mission does not stop there. ALCOSAN employees use bicycles to travel around the plant, some hybrid vehicles have been added to the fleet and lighting is being upgraded, replacing older fixtures with LED lights, timers and motion sensors.


Click here to read more about ALCOSAN.