PWSA has a robust stormwater and green infrastructure program comprised of engineers, project managers, and consultants managing several active green infrastructure projects throughout the city.
A 2015 consent order issued by state and federal environmental regulatory agencies requires PWSA and other municipalities, to develop a Wet Weather Feasibility Study to bring sewer systems into compliance by managing stormwater and reducing combined sewer overflows (CSOs).
To meet the order, PWSA and the City of Pittsburgh developed the draft Citywide Green First Plan and are adopting a green first approach to managing stormwater. The Plan outlines innovative and cost-effective ways to manage stormwater through ecological green solutions. Specifically, it identifies 30 priority sewersheds that are most prone to flooding and sewer overflows.
As part of the Citywide Green First Plan, six of the priority sewersheds were selected for strategic urban planning and align with city plans for new and redevelopment initiatives in areas that have larger CSO volumes. Similar analysis has been done in other sewersheds to identify high volume areas. Projects in these locations will be prioritized for green infrastructure and will benefit from a green first approach to manage 1,835 acres of impervious land that are most at risk for stormwater runoff.
Managing Stormwater – A Green First Approach
PWSA is taking a green first approach to managing stormwater, which includes forming a stormwater division that will manage green stormwater infrastructure projects identified in the Green First Plan.
Currently, stormwater management and related projects are funded through PWSA’s existing meter-based rate structure. The Green First approach also includes adopting a potential stormwater fee that will provide the funding mechanism to meet the goals and objectives of the Green First Plan. A stormwater fee, which is based on a property’s impervious area, will more appropriately charge those that are creating the most amount of runoff. It can also provide an incentive for property owners to mitigate and delay runoff generated on their property.