Catching the Rain in Riverview Park
A series of rain gardens play defense against our stormy weather
Pittsburgh, PA - On October 1, The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will begin constructing stormwater improvements in Riverview Park. The construction work is the first of a two-phase project to capture stormwater, stabilize streambanks, and redirect streamflow before it enters the sewer system and overflows into the Ohio River.
“Working with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has been great,” stated Mark Masterson, Chair of Friends of Riverview Park. “We have an exceptional partner that is working to address some major stormwater issues in the park. We saw an opportunity to improve its ecology and to enhance its connection to the surrounding neighborhood. By working collaboratively with PWSA and the City, we are creating a lasting asset that families will enjoy for years while also significantly reducing stormwater inflows into the sewer system.”
The first phase will continue through the remainder of 2019. We are constructing green stormwater infrastructure along Riverview Drive near Watson Run and Horseshoe Bend highlighted in orange on the map. Rain gardens, visible on the surface, will help to capture stormwater and slow its flow through the park as it travels to the sewer system.
The second phase of the project is expected to begin late next summer and will include additional green solutions, including more rain gardens as well as stream, wetland, trail, and forest restoration projects. Collectively, both phases will stabilize streambanks, mitigate erosion, redirect and store the streamflow, and capture stormwater runoff.
Park users and residents of Pittsburgh’s Northside shared their ideas to inform the design of the project. Additionally, we collaborated with Friends of Riverview Park, the Northside Leadership Council, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, and the City of Pittsburgh to bring this project to fruition.
“This is the first of several stormwater projects to take place within Pittsburgh’s parks,” stated Robert Weimar, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. “The design incorporates the vision of the community while also meeting our stormwater management needs. We are proud of this collaboration and appreciate everyone’s participation during the design process.”
Construction will begin in October and continues through the end of 2019. To maintain public safety and to expedite the work, we will close Riverview Avenue from the Riverview Playground to Riverview Drive as well as the Archery Trail, Bob Harvey Trail, and the unnamed trail by the Dogwood Grove. In consultation with the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works, we considered several options. Closing these areas is the most efficient way to ensure the safety of the public, expedite the work, and manage costs.
Part of this project involves the removal of trees within the construction area. During the first phase, approximately 34 trees will be removed to make space for the rain gardens. Nineteen of the trees identified for removal are either dead or dying or are non-native trees. The other 15 trees are within the footprint of the rain gardens and will need to be removed to complete the project correctly. We worked with the City of Pittsburgh’s Forestry Division and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy to identify which trees to remove and will replace at least an equal amount of the trees removed.
Trees are our stormwater soldiers. They remove pollutants, hold water, and improve water quality. However, construction activity could cause some trees to become unstable, and unhealthy trees do not provide as many stormwater benefits as a flourishing tree. We will replace the removed trees with saplings within the project area. As they grow and become more mature, they will provide an increasing amount of stormwater benefits.
This project is primarily funded with ratepayer dollars and will receive funding from ALCOSAN’s GROW Grant program. The total project cost for the first phase is $573,379. For more information about the Woods Run Stormwater Project, please visit www.pgh2o.com/woods-run.