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Managing a Consent Order Process Through Public Participation

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In Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, an area tucked into the southwestern portion of the state, 83 municipalities are cooperatively complying with a unique municipal consent order for sewer system assessment, repair and long-term planning mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The consent order was negotiated between municipalities and three regulatory agencies, it includes no penalties for past violations, its requirements and deadlines are consistent and feasible across all communities, and it sets the foundation for regional approaches to managing the municipal sewage collection system throughout the County. However, reaching that milestone didn't happen overnight. 3 Rivers Wet Weather, a small nonprofit environmental organization, charged with helping municipalities address the wet weather overflow issue, took on the challenge in a historically parochial region of 82 municipalities and the City of Pittsburgh through a grassroots public participation process that continues to move the region forward.
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Keywords: Public participation; consensus-building; consent order; municipal cooperation; public outreach

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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