The Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority was created by formal resolution on October 8, 1974, by the Supervisors of the Townships of Indiana and West Deer, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, in accordance with the Act 22 of 2001, its amendments and supplements. The Authority was formed for the purpose of planning, constructing, financing and operating a sewage-collection system to serve primarily the residents of West Deer and Indiana Townships in the Deer Creek Drainage Basin area.
On October 10, 1974, the Townships of Indiana and West Deer entered into an agreement with Michael Baker, Jr., Inc., Consulting Engineers, with respect to the preparation of final plans and specifications for the sewer system.
On January 1, 1976, the Authority entered into an agreement with Allegheny Valley Joint Sewage Authority to connect the sewer system to Allegheny Valley's system and to accept, provide for treatment and dispose of acceptable sanitary sewage and acceptable industrial waste from the Deer Creek system.
In 1976 the Authority made application for and received approval of a construction grant from the Environmental Protection Agency estimated at $12,069,000 and a supplemental construction grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission in the amount of $492,777.
After proper advertisement, construction bids were received by the Authority from contractors on March 21, 1977, with the aggregate of the lowest responsible bids totaling $14,824,822. Additional project costs were estimated by the Consulting Engineer at $5,117,555, placing the total acquisition, construction and financing costs of the sewer system at $19,942,377.
The construction of the collecting and intercepting sewers joined together some eight previously existing sewerage systems and phased out several small treatment plants, in addition to providing sewer service to many lots previously served by on-lot systems.
All sewage is conveyed to a pump station located at the confluence of Little Deer Creek and Deer Creek where it is then pumped through a force main to the Allegheny Valley Joint Sewage Authority's treatment plant for treatment. The pump station and portions of the sewer system were placed into operation in the fall of 1979 and the entire system was in total operation by May 1980.
Additional extensions to the system have been obtained at the expense of developers who have turned their lines over to the Authority, per developers' agreements. Major areas of development consist of the Cedar Ridge Plan and Grouse Run Plan in West Deer Township and the Heathergate, Walnut Woods and Hartwood Estates Plans in Indiana Township. All of these plans are in the process of filling to their planned development limits.
An additional developed area known as the Fawn Haven Plan consisting of approximately 304 customers was connected to the system in February of 1984, at the order of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. This system is an older, existing system with infiltration and inflow problems. Under consent order, the Authority was forced to take the system, but only after obtaining commitment of funds from PA DEP and Allegheny County to help correct the system problems in areas where it is cost effective to do so. In July of 1990 plans for rehabilitation of major portions of this system were submitted to PA. DEP for approval and funding.
In November of 1984 the Authority relocated its business office to a location on Little Deer Creek Valley Road. The office and site was constructed by the Authority for its use and for the convenience of the customers. The office incorporates areas for meetings, filing space, computer operations and drive-in payments.
In 1986 construction of a maintenance garage was completed and occupied by the Authority for the purpose of housing and storage of Authority vehicles and equipment.
On May 30, 1986, the Authority experienced the first major physical problem with their gravity system as a result of a major flood which occurred in the drainage basin area. Damage occurred to isolated areas of the system on the Blue Run interceptor, Indianola interceptor and the force main. The State of Pennsylvania reimbursed approximately $320,000 of these damages.
The flood work involved stone bank protection along the force main, bypassing and abandoning the old Indianola interceptor, and cleaning the main line sewer from the pump station to Emmerling Park, and all of the Blue Run interceptor. While this work was progressing in the spring of 1987, another major storm hit the Russellton area of the system in May, rupturing and dislocating approximately 80' of the 24" main transmission line from Russellton to Harmarville. Emergency repairs were undertaken for the total cost of approximately $25,000.
In 1989, the Authority advertised for the rehabilitation of major portions of the older systems of Indianola, Russmont and Victory Plans taken over during construction of the new system. The estimated cost of construction for these areas was approximately $175,000. The cost of this work was partially funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and PA. DEP. The Authority also made application for funding of the construction of sanitary sewers in the Superior area of West Deer Township. These projects were completed. The area has been cited as a chronic area of non-functioning septic systems. A significant matter relative to the EPA project was completed in 1989. The Authority finalized the settlement of Contracts 75-3, 75-4, and 75-8 with Ferry Contracting and received a release of liability from West Deer Township for streets under the Contract.
In 1990, the Authority completed the rehabilitation of the Indianola and Russmont Sewers using the EPA funding, and completed the design of the Fawn Haven area rehabilitation project which was submitted for the approval of EPA funding.
During this period, the Authority has also begun discussions with Allegheny Valley Joint Sanitary Authority relative to Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority's responsibility for the next 1.5 mgd expansion of their 3.6 mgd plant.
In 1990 the Authority also entered into negotiations with Richland Township to agree on transporting their sewage flow through the Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority system to the Allegheny Valley Joint Sanitary Authority facilities in Harmarville. These negotiations have been finalized and a service agreement signed in 1991. The additional flow will involve approximately 1,000 extra customers and will help subsidize Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority maintenance and treatment costs.
In 1991, the Authority applied and received a low interest Pennvest loan from the State. The amount of approximately $4,800,000 was used for meeting the Authority's obligations to expand the Allegheny Valley Joint Sewage Authority plant by 1,500,000 gal/day capacity. This loan was subsequently refinanced in 2003 resulting in a net savings in interest of $192,566.28.
In 1992 work progressed on the Allegheny Valley Joint Sewage Authority plant expansion and the construction of the interceptor line to Richland Township. The Allegheny Valley Joint Sewage Authority's 1.5 mgd expansion project was financed approximately 80% by Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority, as per the contract customer agreement. Richland Township financed the cost of the interconnection with Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority.
In 1992 Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority also completed the last sewer rehabilitation project on old existing sewer systems tied in to the Authority. The rehabilitation of particular lines in the Fawn Haven Plan was completed. Sewer service was extended by the Authority to two additional areas in the service area where sanitary sewers are required, due to malfunctioning on-lot systems. These areas are the Deer Street Plan in West Deer Township and the Five Acres area of Indiana Township.
In 1993 the Allegheny Valley Joint Sewage Authority expansion project was completed and Richland Township tied into the Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority lines for transportation of their flows to Allegheny Valley Joint Sewage Authority. The funds received from Richland Township were used to offset existing debt payments. Richland Township also pays an annual operation and maintenance subsidy.
In 1994 the Authority proceeded on the first expansion of the system using Authority funds to initiate a project and then established a separate sewer district to insure that the pay back of the Authority investment is made.
The Bigler Road Pump station and collector sewers on Saxonburg Boulevard and Harts Run Road were funded and construction began.
During 1995, the Bigler Road Pump Station and Saxonburg Boulevard/Harts Run Road Sanitary Sewers were substantially completed and tap-ins began. Major development in the Hartwood Estates, Hartwood Meadows and Manor at Hartwood continued along the Saxonburg Boulevard corridor.
The Authority began a Corrective Action Plan on the pump station and main interceptors to minimize inflow to the system during heavy rain and snow run-off. This action was a result of heavy flows experienced during the severe winter and heavy rainfall of 1994.
The 1994 Corrective Action Plan was completed, rehabilitating all main interceptor submersible lids. The repairs significantly lowered main line wet weather flows into the system.
During 1995, the Environmental Protection Agency conducted a pre-audit review of the 1976 construction project with satisfactory results. The final funds were received and deposited to reimburse expenses incurred relative to the project.
The 1995 Audit of the Environmental Protection Agency indicated that the Authority was eligible for additional funds upon the request for a grant increase. The increase was requested and received in the amount of $122,690.
The plant expansion project at Allegheny Valley Joint Sewage Authority funded through the use of Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority funds, which was started in 1993, has been certified complete. All funds related to the project supplied through a low-interest Pennvest loan, have been released on the project. The local share amounts were litigated between Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority, Allegheny Valley Joint Sewage Authority and Richland Township, resulting in a payment by Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority to Allegheny Valley Joint Sewage Authority for the balance of the project costs. Appeals were entered relative to the court decision. Final resolution of the case was realized in the 2003 operating year.
In 1997, Richland Township presented Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority with a proposed plan to extend sewers for the Route 910 corridor to Bakerstown. An agreement was drafted by the two parties and the terms of the agreement finalized. Richland Township financed and built the system connecting to Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority. The project construction was completed in 2000.
Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority has had a number of problems with the Rich Hill Pump Station equipment in recent years, particularly the electrical equipment and the discharge isolating valves on the pumps.
The Authority authorized a major upgrade of the electrical controls and speed controls. The discharge isolating valves on the pumps have been replaced completely. Plans and specifications for the electrical upgrade and pump capacity, along with the replacement of approximately 2,500 l.f. of force main, were completed. Bids for the force main work were taken in 1999. Construction was completed in 2000. The pump station performance with the new force main upsizing and use of 24” PVC pipe has improved pump station performance. In 2002, bids were taken for the equipment upgrade including pumps, drives and emergency generator. The Authority has also procured approximately 1.4 acres of land adjacent to the pump station to allow for the pump station expansion.
In 2000, a new pump station joining the Deer Run Golf Course was constructed. This station will also open up the area around Monier Road and Dawson Run for service.
Indiana Township requested a feasibility study of the Rawlins Run area and the Bruno Drive area. Design of Bruno Drive in 2001, though completed, has not led to construction. The Township is still debating the project benefits. The Rawlins Run project has been combined with a West Deer project in the Bakerstown Culmerville area. Both townships indicated, by Board action, their interest in having these projects proceed during this year. Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority began the application process with the United States Government Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to obtain loan and grant funding on this project.
Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority approved construction of a parallel interceptor along Deer Creek in an area below Richland Township tie-ins. This area has a 12” line receiving flow from two 18” connections. Some manhole backup has been noted through the years. The parallel interceptor corrected this situation. Work was completed on this project in the fall of 2002.
Through the extension of lines by developers, the Authority was able to eliminate the use of a pump station for conveying sewage from the Grouse Run Plan. This pump station, which is approximately 18 years old, was abandoned and removed.
In 2001, two areas of the Authority’s system were exposed to storm activity, one in Deer Creek along the 20” interceptor and one on Cedar Run, the gravity interceptor.
Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority personnel, using contracted equipment, installed the bank protection at both locations. No unauthorized discharge of sewage occurred. The Preventative Maintenance Procedures uncovered the problems and the Preventative Maintenance Fund covered the cost of repairs.
The Preventative Maintenance Program targeted approximately 30 manholes that are in need of rehabilitation. A process using interior coating at the surface has been purchased to be used by Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority personnel for this work. In 2002, the Authority purchased additional equipment in order to maintain their right-of-ways. A small backhoe and brush hog permits location and maintenance of right-of-ways and manholes. The maintenance crew has used the equipment to locate and rebuild numerous manholes in the system.
In 2002, the Authority made plans for renovating their primary pump station at Rich Hill Road by upgrading the pumps, electrical controls and emergency generator. Construction of the work was completed in 2004.
Significant flooding occurred during September 2004 with water reaching record levels at the Rich Hill Pump Station and other areas of the system.
Approximately $300,000 in damages were sustained at the Rich Hill Pump Station. Insurance and Federal Assistance put the station back in good condition. Emergency response by Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority personnel and local contactors using temporary arrangements had the station back in service a few days after the severe flood. Other areas washed out by the flood were repaired as access and permits became available. Only two days of bypassing occurred as a result of the flood.
The Authority’s application, made in 2001, to the Federal Rural Utilities Service agency for sewer service in the Bakerstown/Culmerville and Rawlins Run areas of Indiana and West Deer Townships was fruitful. Funding of the $5 million dollar expansion was awarded in 2005, public meetings were held with positive feedback from residents. Design work proceeded with targeted construction for the spring of 2008. Right-of-Way acquisition began in summer 2006 and was completed in fall of 2007. After extended negotiations with ALCOSAN to accept 59 units for Indiana Township through the Fox Chapel sewers, Act 537 approval was received on November 5, 2007. Final Construction permit was submitted to PADep in November 2007.
During 2007 the Authority invested in computer and GIS (Geographical Information System) and GPS (Global Positioning System) hardware and software to map and locate their sewers for improved maintenance and monitoring of the entire system.
On August 28, 2008 contracts were awarded to begin installation of Sanitary Sewers in the Rawlins Run area of Indiana Township and the Bakerstown Culmerville Road area of West Deer Township.
The project serving approximately 417 new customers funded by the Rural Utilities Service Agency included a grant of $2,629,000.00 and a low interest loan of $4,522,000.00 towards construction of the system. Waste water from the system will be treated in plants owned and operated by ALCOSAN, Upper Allegheny Joint Sanitary Authority and the Allegheny Valley Joint Sanitary Authority. Work was completed in the fall of 2010 and tap-in occurred through 2011.
The Authority also began a funding application for upgrading existing systems in Fawn Haven, Indianola, Rural Ridge and Deer Park to complete replacement and rehabilitation of older existing terracotta lines, prone to plugging and excessive infiltration and inflow. The Authority also authorized the Engineer to complete preliminary feasibility studies for areas of Indiana and West Deer Townships which have existing septic systems where extensions of sanitary service could possibly occur in the future. Though the cost of the extensions appear prohibitive, the analysis can be used as a tool for dealing with potential developers in these areas.
The GPS mapping of the existing system was essentially completed in 2011. All manholes inspected and located throughout the system.
The Authority let a contract to perform major repairs on the Five Acres Pump Station wet well along Saxonburg Boulevard, work was completed in early 2011.
Another significant activity which occurred in 2009 was that the Authority restructured their long term debt by obtaining a note with PNC Bank and paying off the Bonds originally used to finance the system construction. The effect of this action was to significantly lower the annual debt related to the system construction, free up the restricted debt service reserve funds for use in the system without raising rates to the customers.
During 2010 issues with the integrity of two major force mains have begun to develop. A portion of the 20” Rich Hill force main had a number of leaks occur. A continuing problem with the 5 Acres Station force main also developed in 2011. Plans were developed to replace these lines.
Bids were received in January 2012 for both force main projects. The work was awarded for complete replacement of 5,000 l.f. of 5 acres force main. It was upsized from 6” ductile iron pipe to 8” polyvinyl chloride pipe at a cost of approximately $312,000. Work was completed during 2012.
Work was also awarded on replacing approximately 2,400 l.f. of 20” ductile iron pipe force main for the Rich Hill Pump Station with 24” C905 polyvinyl chloride pipe at a cost of approximately $287,480. This work was also completed in 2012.
In 2013, a number of major maintenance projects were addressed in the system. A new comminutor was installed in the Rich Hill Pump Station, improving pumping capabilities by limiting clogging due to debris. There was a significant section of the Little Deer Creek interceptor exposed and dislodged by the stream. The sections were replaced and concrete encased to prevent future issues. A significant section of bank protection was installed along Little Deer Creek on the Prato property to protect the DCDBA main interceptor in that location.
Scanning and digitizing Authority vital papers and documents continued throughout the year, using in-house employees to permanently store these documents.
In 2014, DCDBA requested permits for a line relocation in Deer Creek near the Medrad Facility to repair a potentially troublesome areas of sewer.
In 2014, DCDBA entered into an Agreement with the West Deer Township to provide sewer service to the West Deer Nike Site Park and the West Deer Senior Center located within the park. Grant funds were obtained through the Allegheny County Gaming and Economic Development Fund (GEDF).
Plans and Specifications were prepared, Rights-of Way were acquired and the project was bid in November of 2014. Construction began in April 2015 and included over 3900 l.f. of 8” sewer line installed along Rt. 910. This project was completed in September 2015.
Also in 2015, DCDBA completed a Sanitary Interceptor Stabilization Project in Indiana Township between the PA Turnpike and State Route 910 south of Indianola. This project involved installing concrete encasement in several section of a 36” sanitary interceptor pipe in Deer Creek and installing rip-rap to stabilize areas of eroded stream banks. This project was completed in June 2015.
In 2016, failure of a large diameter pipe fitting in the Rich Hill Pump Station caused flooding of the dry well of the station. Extensive damage was done to the station electrical system and piping. The Authority was able to repair and return the station to operation in approximately four (4) days. The costs of the repairs were covered by the Authority’s insurance policy.
Also in 2016, a stabilization project was started on the Little Deer Creek Interceptor with work to re-establish the stream bank erosion and secure and protect the interceptor. This work was done along Little Deer Creek near Russellton, below the Rock Airport embankment.
In 2017, the Authority applied for and received a $66,500 grant from the Gaming Economic Development Fund (GEDF) through the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County to rehabilitate sewers in the Fawn Haven Development in West Deer Township. The project was completed in the fall of 2018.