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Approaches for a Successful Regional Flow Monitoring Program In the Greater Pittsburgh Area

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The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) is in the process of implementing a comprehensive flow monitoring program to support the Wet Weather Plan for the greater Pittsburgh region. This paper will explain and demonstrate the approaches used to develop and implement a monitoring program and successfully resolve the potential challenges and problems. The flow monitoring plan was built upon the success of ALCOSAN's ongoing monitoring program over the past 10 years, the large quantity of data already collected, and the innovative approach used to control costs by using a planning basin approach and having monitoring activities spread over time. The monitoring plan was further supported by the efforts of a regional flow monitoring working group, comprised of engineers and technical representatives from the ALCOSAN service municipalities, to encourage a regional approach to flow monitoring. The paper will demonstrate how complex technical and regulatory requirements were met, how a consensus was built among 83 customer municipalities and collection system owners for locating over 500 monitoring sites, and how program responsibilities and costs were delegated. A three-year process was required to get all the stakeholder parties together and implement the interface approach used to build and maintain consensus.

There are valuable lessons to be learned from the greater Pittsburgh experience that can be applied to monitoring programs in other cities. Consistent and comprehensive technical protocols were developed and implemented to ensure field practices, data quality reviews, and supporting documentation consistently meet program requirements for all monitoring sites across the ALCOSAN service area. A series of coordination meetings was implemented to facilitate communication and provide a forum for the discussion and resolution of questions and problems that occurred during the development and execution of the monitoring plan. An innovative technical approach was used to share large quantities of digital monitoring, mapping and analysis data among the 83 municipalities that comprise the ALCOSAN service area via a secure website. An innovative managerial approach was used to establish and maintain “buy-in” from stakeholders on the collected flow monitoring data.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-01-01

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