Water Pollution Control

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The Water Pollution Control Division inspects all sewage treatment plants, plus sewage collection and conveyance systems in Allegheny County.

The plants we oversee process raw sewage. Each plant receives a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit from the state. This permit allows the plants to discharge their treated wastewater into a specific body of water. In our area, many of these discharges are done into the Ohio, Allegheny, Youghiogheny, and Monongahela Rivers. Sometimes, however, plants are permitted to discharge into large streams, creeks, or tributaries. Find information on Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO).

Sewage Overflow Reporting

In the event of a sanitary sewer overflow at a sewage treatment facility or in a sanitary sewer collection system, all Municipalities/Authorities in Allegheny County are required to notify the health department verbally within 4 hours of discovery of the incident by calling 412 -578-8040.

Also, the Municipality/Authority is required to follow up by sending a completed SSO report form(PDF, 135KB) to ACHD within 5 days of the discovery of the incident - this form can filled out, printed, and sent to ACHD using any of the following methods:

The completed form can be mailed to:

Allegheny County Health Department
Water Pollution Control & Solid Waste Management
3901 Penn Avenue, Building #5
Pittsburgh, PA 15224-1318

The form may also be faxed to 412 578-8053 or emailed to: WPC/SWNotifications@AlleghenyCounty.us


Each of the 60 permitted treatment facilities we oversee are inspected annually. During these inspections, all aspects of the operation are checked for compliance with the federal and state regulations and samples of treated waste water are taken for analysis. Laboratory audits are also performed at major treatment facilities to assure self-monitoring reporting is adequate.

After the inspection is complete, the facility is provided a written copy of the conditions observed and, if violations are found, given a specific timeframe to make corrections. If upon a re-inspection there are still problems, further action will be taken to enforce the regulations.


On average over the course of a year, we receive between 200-250 complaints.

Most of these complaints concern sewer overflows, sewer line issues, odors from permitted facilities, sewage backups into homes, stream pollution, drainage from an unknown source, and malfunctioning on-lot sewage disposal systems.

While most complaints are resolved quickly, approximately 16% require long‐term effort to abate.

Planning Module Review

We review plans for new developments or buildings that will use the public sewer or on-lot sewage disposal systems. After our review, we make a recommendation for approval or rejection. The plan is then sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for final approval.

On-Lot Sewage Disposal Systems

On-lot disposal sewage systems, also known as septic systems, are individual systems that service one piece of property or a specific structure. Permitting activities for these systems are carried out by the Health Department's Sewage Enforcement Officers under PA Act 537-The PA Sewage Facilities Act. Our Sewage Enforcement Officers conduct on-site soil testing for private on-lot sewage treatment systems, as well as review and approve on-lot system designs and issue permits on PA DEP Approved Septic Systems..

See the On-Lot Fee Schedule(PDF, 46KB)

Emergency Response

We are available to respond to emergency situations affecting one or more wastewater facilities 24 hours a day. Emergencies involving the failure of plant or pump station will take priority over all other activities.


We use a variety of enforcement tools to achieve compliance with regulations including issuing notices of violation, filing criminal complaints, execution of Consent Orders & Agreements, and instituting equity actions.


Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law, Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Rules and Regulations, Chapters 71, 72, 73, 91, 92a, 94, 95; and the ACHD Rules & Regulations  Article XIV, “Sewage Management”(PDF, 520KB), as amended.