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Property Owners Who Fail Dye Test Could End Up Paying A Bundle

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Andy Sheehan Andy Sheehan
KDKA-TV Investigator Andy Sheehan began his broadcast journalism...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s a problem you may not know you have, but it could end up costing you a bundle.

Thousands of properties around Allegheny County have failed a dye test; and if you own one of them, the state and federal governments say you need to fix it.

It’s called a dye test, and if your home fails, it’ll cost you as much as $10,000 to fix. State environmental officials say it must be done.

“We cannot put this off. We cannot kick this can down the road,” John Poister, of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, says.

It’s part of a $5 billion fix to our region’s antiquated sewers polluting our rivers and streams.

The dye test determines if your house is part of the problem, allowing water to flow directly into the sanitary sewers, which then overflow during heavy rains.

The state and federal governments say you, the homeowner, will need to remedy that by diverting the rain water into the storm sewer.

“You’re probably looking at $5- to $10,000 to get it out of the sanitary and to where it has to go,” said Jim Davies, of Beverly Services.

But while the state and federal governments are mandating the fixes, they are supplying no funding to get them done.

And in Pittsburgh, 5,000 properties have failed, most of them in South Hills’ neighborhoods like Carrick.

The Water and Sewer Authority say it will begin notifying them this summer, but Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Interim Director Jim Good concedes there is no money to help them.

“There’s no easy solution. These programs are out there,” Good says. “They’re expensive and the question is, how are we going to do this?”

State officials say they are willing to work with homeowners and municipalities to find solutions and funding; and while they also say there is no firm deadlines to get this done, they say it must be sooner rather than later.

RELATED LINKS:
Homeowners Found Polluting Could Have To Shell Out Thousands (2/4/13)
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