Harrisburg – October 23, 2013 – More than $5 million in low-interest loans for sewer projects in the City of Pittsburgh were approved by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) today, according to state Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny.)

“The new funds for these important projects make environmental and economic sense,” Costa said. “There is a critical need to separate storm water drainage from sanitary sewers.

“The funds that will aid the redevelopment of the former Civic Arena site have the potential to leverage more than $10 million in private development and create in excess of 100 jobs.”

The first loan of $2.72 million will pay for the installation of 24 storm inlets and catch basins in addition to 3,500 feet of new storm sewers in various sections of Pittsburgh. The project will help address the needs of 95,000 customers in a low-and-middle-income area.

A second loan of $2.3 million will help fund the construction of 1,800 feet of concrete storm sewer pipe to separate storm and sanitary sewers at the site of the former Civic Arena.

Costa, who serves as Senate Democratic leader, said that combined sewers have been an issue in the region for years and that both projects are in compliance with a Department of Environmental Protection Consent Order and Agreement.

The lawmaker said there are a number of important benefits of the projects. Not only will storm water be segregated and prevented from overflowing into sanitary sewers thereby reducing stress on sewage treatment facilities, but it will also help prevent flow of untreated sewage into the Monongahela River.

“For many years we have been seeking ways to infuse new dollars to address environmental concerns related to combined sewers and also pave the way for new development,” Costa said. “I am pleased that PENNVEST has approved these projects and that we can begin working on solving the problem.”

Costa said that they both loans have an interest rate of one percent.