Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (Alcosan), which serves the Pittsburgh, Penn. region, is required under a consent decree to eliminate combined sewer overflows (CSOs) by 2026. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently rejected Alcosan’s proposed $2 billion wet weather sewer system improvement plan as deficient. The plan proposed only grey infrastructure techniques that would address 79% of the area’s CSO volume. Alcosan had asked for more time to draft a plan including green infrastructure.

The U.S. Department of Justice, however, will allow Alcosan and EPA to renegotiate a mutually acceptable agreement by the end of April, giving the utility time to integrate green infrastructure into the plan.

“This is great news for the people and communities affected by the consent agreement,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pittsburgh. “We’ve been working for some time now to persuade these agencies to renegotiate the consent agreement to incorporate green solutions — and protect low-income ratepayers — and this is the kind of response we’ve been looking for.”