A questionable partnership between the PA DEP and a coal company

When entomologist Andrew Liebhold moved to Greene County in the 1970s, he soon fell in love with Dunkard Creek, regularly kayaking the 37-mile waterway with his wife and two daughters while developing an appreciation for its stretches of scenic beauty.

Leibhold never dreamed that this placid tributary on the Monongahela River would become the center of a questionable partnership between a coal operator and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the state agency entrusted to manage natural resources.

Taming the water

In the wake of fatal flooding, soggy basements, and sometimes-toxic rivers, officials in Allegheny County are struggling to come up with solutions to satisfy both the Environmental Protection Agency and their constituents.

The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (Alcosan) and its municipal partners are under government orders to meet clean water standards after decades of allowing sewage to be illegally released into Pittsburgh’s waterways.