green infrastructure

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds of millions of gallons of stormwater flow into Pittsburgh’s sewer system during hard rains, which results in chronic flooding and sewage backups. A massive green infrastructure project slated for Four Mile Run could significantly reduce those problems, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials said.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

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.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

On the tails of the 4th annual P4 conference, Mayor Bill Peduto on Friday unveiled details of a fund called OnePGH, that will finance eight goals related to making the city a more equitable, sustainable place by 2030.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, ALCOSAN, expects to design the expansion of its treatment plant this spring, with construction beginning in late 2019. 

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Stretching roughly from the edge of Panther Hollow to the base of Greenfield Avenue, the neighborhood of Four Mile Run is low-lying and has endured repeated flooding over the last several years.

David J. Phillip / AP

Experts say flat topography, impermeable clay-based soil and building on a low lying coastal plain all contributed to the significant flooding issues in Houston over the past month.

Samuel Brody, professor of Marine Studies at Texas A&M-Galveston, said the city’s rapid expansion and development had a role in making it difficult for water to subside.

“On top of that, [our population is] 6-plus million people and with that, all the roads, rooftops, parking lots, which is pavement, concrete and no water can absorb into the soil,” Brody said.

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

New challenges have arisen around transportation and infrastructure in the last decade, particularly climate change and innovations in technology, according to Department of Conservation and Natural Resources secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and state Transportation secretary Leslie Richards. 

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

It started as a pothole.

A driver blew a tire in the Borough of Ephrata at 6 a.m. on Election Day and alerted the public works department.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority proposed mixing green and gray infrastructure to reduce the amount of raw sewage flowing into the Ohio River. 

The draft “Green First Plan” calls for millions of dollars in water retention systems that are both above and below ground. The systems would range from cement cisterns that hold water during rainy days to be processed later, to green spaces that can absorb storm water runoff into the ground.  

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

At the south end of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium parking lot is a small access road with a sign reading “Do Not Enter.” Beyond that is a big gravel parking lot, mostly used for overflow parking during large zoo events and as a staging area and storage space for the Department of Public Works.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle was given a Clean Water Star Award from the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority on Monday for his continued efforts to help move infrastructure improvements forward. 

In anticipation of a wet weather plan from ALCOSAN, Pittsburgh City Council members Corey O’Connor and Deb Gross have introduced legislation aimed at helping some of the city’s most vulnerable areas develop green infrastructure.

Under a consent decree, the city, Allegheny County and the federal Environmental Protection Agency must develop a plan to keep raw sewage from overflowing and spilling into area rivers during wet weather. Some areas are harder hit than others, including part of Gross’s district.

Flickr user Chesapeake Bay Program

‘Tis the season for landscaping, gardening and yard work, and the Allegheny County Conservation District is hoping homeowners will include storm water management in their plans for improving their outdoor spaces.

To make that task easier, the ACCD and a consortium of other organizations have put together the first ever Southwestern Pennsylvania Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater, available online and at conservation district offices.

Allegheny County is about to get greener with the help of a $200,000 grant from Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. TreeVitalize will use the grant to plant about 1,000 more trees this year.

“Communities that want trees for their neighborhood come to us, and they go through an application process, and we work with them with our foresters, and we work with the communities to plant the right trees in the right place,” said TreeVitalize Director at Western PA Conservancy Jeffery Bergman.

Nikki Abban / 90.5WESA

The borough of Etna recently debuted its green infrastructure plan. Like many other communities along the Allegheny river, Etna has had a history of problems with flooding, and the community of some 3,400 people was hit especially hard as a result of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Etna’s master plan was designed to handle large amounts of storm water without flooding the sewage systems. What can their experience in Etna tell us about how other communities in our region can institute green projects of this kind?