Stormwater matters because the water that does not infiltrate into the soil can run off into local rivers and streams, carrying pollutants from lawns, roads, sidewalks, roofs, and parking lots. If not properly managed, stormwater can flood roadways and basements. Excess stormwater leads to combined sewer overflow (CSO), which contaminates the waterways.
Individuals can certainly lessen their impact on the city’s stormwater issue, especially homeowners. Some areas to focus on are:
Reducing impervious surfaces, such as roofs and paved areas, to allow rain to infiltrate into the ground
Planting native trees and plants increase the amount of water evaporated, as well as allowing more rain to infiltrate into the ground
Capturing rain on site through rain gardens and rain barrels
Bagging your fall leaves before placing them on the curbside to prevent them from entering storm drains
#Drainspotting is a social media campaign where you can help locate catch basins that need to be repaired or replaced
In order to solve the ongoing problems Pittsburgh experiences each time it rains, actions must be taken at individual, community, neighborhood, and city-wide levels. This requires not only implementing these tips, but engaging in conversations and raising awareness. PWSA draws water from the Allegheny River. Anything that enters the storm sewer is ultimately released, untreated, into the rivers and streams.
The PWSA system is made up of sanitary, dedicated stormwater and combined sewers. All new development is required to have separate storm sewers into Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems, known as MS4's. Check out the Developers Guide to Stormwater below.
Below is an image of a rain garden, built by Stormworks, located in front of the Biddle Building near Frick Park. If you look closely at the image, you can see a pipe under the pathway leading into the rain garden. This pipe is connected to a downspout from the home's gutter system and directs it into the rain garden to effectively manage all of the stormwater runoff created from the impervious roof.
Photo by 3RWW
What can you do to help improve water quality?
Dispose of trash properly. Don’t Litter.
You can help reduce costs and keep our rivers clean by properly disposing of waste.
Three Rivers Wet Weather was created in 1998 to help Allegheny County municipalities address the region's aging and deteriorating sewer infrastructure and to meet the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act. Check out the 3RWW GI Atlas to locate green infrastructure in your community.