2011-12-08 / Local & State

Pitt Study Shows W. Pa. Plagued By Wildcat Sewers

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A University of Pittsburgh study shows southwestern Pennsylvania is plagued by about 27,000 wildcat sewers – makeshift pipes that homeowners, farmers and others have used to drain raw sewage into ditches and water ways.

The Pittsburgh Tribune- Review (http://bit.ly/u4ix7g ) reports Sunday that the sewers cause 16 billion gallons of sewage to flow into rives and watersheds each year, and put a half million people at risk for death or illness from the resulting pollution.

John Schombert, executive director of 3 Rivers Wet Weather, says wildcat sewers were a big problem in Pittsburgh and surrounding Allegheny County until the 1980s, but remain a problem in more rural areas without municipal sewage service.

Pitt researchers believe the makeshift drains serve about 11,000 homes without septic systems.

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