History of the Brush Creek Plant

old image at treatment plant1960 Before the Municipal Sewer and Water Authority was formed in 1960 to manage Cranberry Township’s original sewage treatment plant in Fernway – Cranberry’s first major housing development – the wastewater from most Cranberry households drained into on-lot septic systems. 

1972 But outside of Fernway, Cranberry’s population growth, marked by the construction of homes and apartment buildings on lots too small for traditional septic fields, continued. In response, the Authority began to build a municipal sewage collection network along with a new and larger treatment facility – one designed to serve residents throughout the Brush Creek watershed. That plant, built to treat 500,000 gallons a day, went on line in 1972. 

1998 Following several major expansions and the eventual consolidation of the Sewer and Water Authority into the Township’s Public Works Department in 1998, the plant became positioned to serve Cranberry’s rapidly-growing businesses and residential community as well as portions of Marshall, Pine, and New Sewickley Townships. 

On an average day, the plant treats 3.2 million gallons of wastewater, returning most of it to Brush Creek, where it eventually enters the Ohio River. A smaller share of that treated water is redirected to nearby Cranberry Highlands Golf Course, where it is used for irrigation.

2007 The design capacity of the Brush Creek plant today is 4.5 million gallons a day – enough to accommodate the growth projected over the next 10 years, when the Township’s population is expected to be in the range of 40,000. 

However unlike the Township’s original plant, which enjoyed construction financing from the state, its more recent expansions were built using low-interest bonds that are being repaid by customers of the service itself. Any future expansions are also likely to be ratepayer financed.

As a result, forestalling future expansions by preserving the capacity and extending the life of the Brush Creek plant has been a top priority for Township officials.