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Green Stormwater Infrastructure Project Unveiled In Hill District

Kathleen J. Davis
90.5 WESA
The stormwater infrastructure project on Thursday, June 21, 2018.

The Hill District is now home to a green stormwater infrastructure project at the intersection of Centre and Herron avenues. The system will collect water runoff from the University of Pittsburgh athletic fields and surrounding hills that are elevated higher than the project.

The whole things spans almost 600 feet, and water will meander around rocks and plants before it reaches a basin. The goal is for the project to reduce the amount of stormwater that ultimately gets into the sewer system, according to Jan Oliver, director of regional conveyance at ALCOSAN.

"Any reduction of stormwater entering the system is a reduction of overflow of sewage and stormwater to our rivers and streams," Oliver said.

The ALCOSAN treatment plant, which processes wastewater for Allegheny County, is about 7 miles northwest of the new system. The plant can currently handle 250 million gallons a day, and by 2027 it will be retrofitted to process 600 million gallons a day.

Heavy rains can pose an environmental concern. Executive Director Arletta Scott Williams told 90.5 WESA earlier this year that about 9 billion gallons of diluted sewage -- raw sewage mixed with snow or rain -- overflows into rivers and streams each year.

Stormwater infrastructure projects like this are intended to decrease that heavy amount, according to PWSA Executive Director Bob Weimar.

"Our intention is to have as many of these as needed to control stormwater, and we're using the value of our combined sewer system to carry that ultimately to the ALCOSAN plant," he said.