Note: As the Regional Water Management Task Force is not currently an active project, please be aware that some of the links to documents and other sites may no longer be functional. However, it is our hope that community leaders continue to use the resources developed to support the initiative. This page is meant to facilitate that process.

The Regional Water Management Task Force was an 11-county effort between 2006 and 2009 to improve water management and water quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Our region is endowed with an abundance of water, but we also face many challenges:

  • In more urban areas, sewer overflows release billions of gallons of untreated sewage into our rivers every year.
  • In rural areas, failing septic tanks also release raw sewage into the environment, and minerals from abandoned coal mines leak into nearby waterways, depleting oxygen, killing fish, and leaving Southwestern Pennsylvania with thousands of miles of “dead” or “degraded” streams.
  • Our region's floods have become more frequent as stormwater management continues to be disconnected from land use planning. Hurricane Ivan in 2004 was an especially dramatic reminder that flooding can affect almost all of us.

The costs of addressing sewage overflows, abandoned mine drainage, and poor stormwater management will be staggering – conservatively estimated at billions of dollars – and these costs will only escalate as time goes on. The goal of the Regional Water Management Task Force was to reduce these costs and protect our region's most valuable asset by promoting increased regional collaboration and efficiency.

After substantial public involvement, the Task Force recommended the creation of a Three Rivers Water Planning District to coordinate and integrate water resources management (water quality, water supply, flooding prevention, sewage disposal, pollution control) throughout our southwestern Pennsylvania region.  The full recommendation can be accessed by clicking the link below.

Click here for Regional Water Management Task Force Recommendations


The Task Force was comprised of 18 high-level individuals appointed by their respective county governments. Dr. Jared Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University , served as chair of the Task Force, and Dr. Angelo Armenti, president of California University of Pennsylvania, was the vice chair. The Task Force was supported by several staff members and an extensive technical advisory committee consisting of roughly 90 individuals from environmental groups, utilities, businesses, planning entities, and municipal and state government.

To read the Task Force Framing Paper for a more in-depth discussion of our region's water challenges, click here.

If you would like more information on the Task Force and the problems it sought to solve through collaboration,  please read the fact sheets linked below:

Return to top of page >>


The Task Force realized that changes can only occur after substantial public outreach, discussion, and consensus-building. Phase II consisted of extensive stakeholder engagement across the region. Fourteen two-hour public meetings were held across 11 counties in the region. The first half hour of each meeting was devoted to a presentation on the current status of water quality and water management in the region, followed by a half-hour discussion period. The final hour was spent presenting and discussing possible institutional models that might work in Southwestern Pennsylvania . The project team distributed surveys and evaluation criteria, and then listened to public feedback on various alternatives. Anywhere between five and 50 people attended each meeting.

Click here to view the Phase II Presentation >>
Click here to view Stakeholder Collaboration Models >>
Click here to view the Evaluation Criteria >>
Click here to view the Stakeholder Survey >>

Return to top of page >>


From May through November 2006, as Phase I of its work plan, the Task Force carried out research to fill information gaps in our knowledge about water management in southwestern Pennsylvania. This work focused on five areas:

  • benchmarking of similar regions
  • survey of southwestern Pennsylvania 's authorities and municipalities
  • detailed case studies to depict how various entities in southwestern Pennsylvania are dealing with their water management challenges
  • assessment of the financial viability of existing entities in the region
  • institutional analysis to identify possible alternatives that have worked elsewhere and that might be useful in this region.

The report on this work is available below.

Click here to access the Phase I Report >>

Return to top of page >>


As part of its Phase I research, the Task Force sent out a voluntary survey to the region's 601 municipalities and 268 authorities to collect information about their water and sewage operations. This survey included information about customer base, billing, facilities, funding, and governance. The Task Force received a substantial response, with 45 percent of the authorities and 38 percent of the municipalities completing the survey.

The Task Force compiled a six-page summary of noteworthy data from the survey, including supplemental data from DEP regarding tap-in restrictions. To view the survey summary, click here.


The Task Force selected four regions for benchmarking based on their quality of performance in addressing issues similar to those that southwestern Pennsylvania faces. An extensive (40 page) summary of what was learned is available below along with two policy briefs on financing and regulation.

Click here to view the benchmarking report >>

Click here to view Benchmarking Policy Brief– Funding Regional Water Planning and Management >>

Click here to view Benchmarking Policy Brief– Regional and State Regulatory Relationships >>

Return to top of page >>


Task Force Title
Dr. Jared L. Cohon
Carnegie Mellon University
Dr. Angelo Armenti, Jr.
Vice Chair
California University of Pennsylvania
Mr. Robert O. Agbede
Board Member
ATS-Chester Engineers
President & Chief Executive Officer
Mr. John R. Andrighetti
Board Member
ILCAVALLO, Inc. Greater Latrobe Senior High School
President Retired Principal
Mr. Daniel E. Bailey
Board Member
Muncipal Authority of the Borough of Carmichaels
Dr. James R. Hassinger
Board Member
Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission
Executive Director
Mr. Bruce G. Hottle
Board Member
Eagle Concrete Lincoln Township Municipal Authority
President Chairman
Mr. Robert W. Kunkle
Board Member
Indiana County Municipal Services Authority
Mr. Theodore A. McConnell
Board Member
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP
Mr. Andrew R. Quinn
Board Member
Kennywood Entertainment Company
Director of Community Relations
Mr. Carmen Rozzi
Board Member
US Army Corps of Engineers
Public Involvement Specialist
Dr. Edith Shapira
Board Member
River Life Task Force
Ms. Diane Mintus Sheets
Board Member
Community Development Corporation of Butler County
Executive Director
Ms. Deb Simko
Board Member
Mountain Watershed Association
Project Coordinator
Dr. Kenneth A. Smith
Board Member
Geneva College
Mr. Mark A. Snyder
Board Member
Snyder Associated Companies
Corporate Secretary
Mr. Richard W. Taylor
Board Member
Macedonia Development Corporation
Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Doris Carson Williams
Board Member
African American Chamber of Commerce
President & Chief Executive Officer

Return to top of page >>


Ms. Diane Altland
Authority Engineer
Canonsburg-Houston Joint Authority
Mr. Jerry Andree
Township Manager/Secretary
Cranberry Township
Mr. Steve Balta
SWPO DEP Regional Director
Mr. Shirl Barnhart
Morgan Township Supervisor
Mr. Dave Becki
Borough of Etna
Dr. Eric Beckman
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh
Mr. James Beener
Barbera, Clapper, Beener, Rullo & Melvin
Mr. Don Berman
Mr. Andrew Blenko
Planning Director / Engineer
North Huntingdon Township
Mr. Ken Bowman
Southwest Regional Director
Department of Environmental Protection
Ms. Joy Braunstein
Research Associate
Regional Water Management Task Force
Mr. Kirk Brethauer
Information Systems Director
Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission
Mr. Craig Brooks
Executive Director
Joint Conservation Committee
Mr. Kelly Burch
Northwest Regional Director
Department of Environmental Protection
Mr. Matthew Burger
Buchanan Ingersoll
Mr. Stan Caldwell
Executive Director
Western Pennsylvania Office of U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter
Mr. Bill Campbell
Operations Director
Marshall Township Municipal Sanitary Authority
Mr. Ray Dami
Executive Director
Washington-East Washington Joint Authority
Mr. John Dawes
Western Pennsylvania Watershed Program
Mr. Victor Diaz
Crossroads Contracting Corporation
Mr. Michael Dufalla
Vice President Planning & Development
Mackin Engineering
Mr. Mike Duffalo
Executive Director
Indiana County Municipal Services Authority
Dr. Dave Dzombak
Dept. of Civil and Env. Engineering
Mr. Zach Falck
Past Research Associate
Regional Water Management Task Force
Mr. Curt Fontaine
Operations Manager Engineering
Municipal Authority of Westmoreland Co.
Mr. Jebediah Feldman
Deputy Mayor
Mayor's Office of Braddock
Ms. Janie French
Watershed Programs Manager
3 Rivers Wet Weather, Inc.
Mr. Larry Gasparato
Regional Project Specialist
Mr. Patrick Gavaghan
Senior Ecologist
Ecotune Environmental
Mr. Art Gazdik
Ross Township
Mr. Court Gould
Sustainable Pittsburgh
Mr. Tony Guerrieri
Reasearch Analyst
Joint Conservation Committee
Mr. Thomas Gray
Latrobe Municipal Authority
Ms. Tammi Halapin
Collective Efforts, LLC
Ms. Marijke Hecht
Executive Director
Nine Mile Run Watershed Association
Ms. Lynn Heckman
Assistant Director, Planning
Allegheny County Dept. of Economic Development
Mr. David Henning
Regional Project Specialist
Mr. Michael Henry
Operations Manager
Unity Township Municipal Authority
Mr. Brian Hill
President and CEO
Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Mr. Clinton Hittle
Chief, Hydrologic Surveillance Program
U.S. Geological Survey, WSC
Mr. Daniel Hufton
Regional Director, Production
American Water Southeast Region
Mr. David Johnston
Planning Director
Butler County Planning Commission
Mr. Larry Keller
Environmental/Occupational Health
Mr. Chris Kerr
Resident Manager
Municipal Authority of Westmoreland Co.
Mr. Roy Kraynyk
Executive Director
Allegheny Land Trust
Mr. Larry Lambo
Network Superintendent Northwest PA
Pennsylvania American Water Company
Mr. Eric Large
Land Development Coordinator
Washington County Planning Commission
Mr. Clifford Levine
Thorpe Reed & Armstrong
Mr. Geoffrey MacLaughlin
Communications Specialist
Joint Conservation Committee
Ms. Robbie Matesic
Executive Director
Greene County, Department of Economic Development
Mr. Jim McCarville
Executive Director
Port of Pittsburgh Commission
Ms. Jo Ann McCready
District Manager
Lawrence County Conservation District
Ms. Amy McKinney
Lawrence County Planning Department
Dr. David Miller
Interim Dean
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
Ms. Susan Morgan
Brownfields Manager
Redevelopment Authority of County of Washington
Ms. Ruthann Omer
The Gateway Engineers, Inc.
Mr. Jim Overton
Research Associate
Regional Water Management Task Force
Mr. Edward Patton
Director, Capital Projects
Riverlife Task Force
Mr. Kevin Paul
Agriculture and Forestry Operations Mgr.
Sustaining Greene County
Mr. Nick Pinizzotto
Senior Director, Freshwater Conservation
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
Mr. Todd Radolec
Project Engineer
McMillen Engineering
Mr. Raymond Reaves
Urban Planning Consultant
Reaves Consulting
Ms. Rosemary Reilly
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Ms. Dana Rizzo
Extension Education, Water Quality
Penn State University
Mr. Timothy Rogers
Township Manager
Shaler Township
Mr. Ron Rohall
Ohio Water Resources Regional Committee
Mr. Lambert Rosenbaum
Area Director
USDA, Rural Development
Mr. Dave Rupert
District Manager
Armstrong Conservation District
Mr. Edward Schmitt
Vice President
Gibson-Thomas Engineering Co. Inc.
Ms. Lisa Schroeder
Executive Director
Riverlife Task Force
Ms. Diane Selvaggio
Executive Director
Turtle Creek Watershed Association
Dr. Karen Shastri
Research Associate
Regional Water Management Task Force
Mr. Richard Shaw
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Michael Baker Corporation
Mr. John Stephen
Allegheny River Towns Enterprise Zone
Mr. Gary Stokum
District Manager
Washington County Conservation District
Mr. Joseph Swenglish
Utility Workers Union of America Local 433
Mr. Arthur Tamilia
Director of Environmental Compliance
Allegheny County Sanitary Authority
Dr. Sue Thompson
3 Rivers Ecological Research Center, PFBC
Mr. Charles Toran
Sci-Tek Environmental Services
Mr. Dennis Tubbs
Aquatic Resources Program Specialist
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
Mr. Gregory Tutsock
Executive Director
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority
Dr. Jeanne Van Briesen
Dept. of Civil and Env. Engineering
Mr. Alan Vicory
Executive Director and Chief Engineer
Mr. Jon Wahl
Vice President
Planning and Engineering Services, LLC
Mr. Davitt Woodwell
Vice President
Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Mr. William Youngblood
Executive Director
McCandless Township Sanitary Authority

Return to top of page >>


Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, or SPC, is the region's forum for collaboration, planning, and public decision-making. Its ten counties, plus Somerset County, were the focus of the Regional Water Management Task Force.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the state agency largely responsible for administering Pennsylvania's environmental laws and regulations. This includes protecting water quality across the state.

3 Rivers Wet Weather Demonstration Program

The 3 Rivers Wet Weather Demonstration Program was created in 1998 to help Allegheny County municipalities address the region's aging and deteriorating sewer infrastructure to meet the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act.

Allegheny County River Water Advisories

These advisories, issued between May 15 and September 30 each year by the Allegheny County Health Department, indicate when combined sewer overflows make the county's rivers unsafe for contact.

This 2005 report, published by the National Research Council, finds that a comprehensive, watershed-based approach is needed to effectively meet water quality standards throughout the 11-county region in the most cost-effective manner. It outlines technical and institutional alternatives to consider in the development and implementation of such an approach.

Investing in Clean Water

Read Investing in Clean Water , a 2002 report from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Water and Sewer Infrastructure Project Steering Committee.

Plumbing the Future

This 1999 Environmental Law Institute report discusses the relationship between sewage infrastructure decisions in southwestern Pennsylvania and effects on the urban, suburban, and rural landscape of the region. You may download the report for free and are not required to fill out any information in the pop-up window.


710 Alumni Hall
4227 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Ty Gourley – Project Manager

You may direct questions about this project to Briana Mihok, current Senior Policy Strategist at the Institute of Politics.

Return to top of page >>

Regional Water Management Task Force




Phase II Stakeholder Engagement

Phase I Report

Municipalities and Authorities Survey

Benchmarking Reports

Task Force Board

Technical Advisory Committee

Resource Links

Contact Us


©2009 University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics