Pittsburgh, PA - The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) awarded $250,000 in grant money to 17 projects through its inaugural Green Infrastructure Grant Program, following a competitive application process. The program supports community organizations and property owners demonstrating the management of stormwater with green infrastructure (GI).
Seven matching grants ranging from $8,000 to $40,000 were awarded to property owners for larger-scale GI projects that will manage significant amounts of stormwater on their properties. Ten mini-grants of up to $5,000 were awarded to community and nonprofit organizations for projects that will increase awareness of the benefits of GI in Pittsburgh. The program received an impressive response with 38 total applications requesting over $600,000 in funding. Including the matching funds, this program will provide over $1 million towards GI projects in the City of Pittsburgh and a total estimated stormwater flow reduction of 3.5 to 4 million gallons annually.
“PWSA’s Green Infrastructure Grant Program helps advance our goal of demonstrating the effectiveness of sustainable stormwater management and improving Pittsburgh’s water quality,” PWSA Executive Director Jim Good said. “We are pleased to provide this important opportunity and collaborate with the grant recipients.”
The range of projects include: a cistern to collect rainwater for tree irrigation at Tree Pittsburgh’s new nursery in upper Lawrenceville; a café patio at The Corner in West Oakland incorporating planter boxes to manage up to three inches of rain in 24 hours; rain gardens that collect rainwater to infiltrate into the ground rather than fill sewer pipes, such as one in Emerald View Park in Duquesne Heights and another at the Pittsburgh Zoo’s new exhibit, “The Islands”; and Bakery Square 2.0, which will feature community rain gardens that manage stormwater runoff from several townhomes.
StartUptown, a co-working space located in the historic Pittsburgh Film Exchange Building, received a matching grant for the installation of a green roof, which will manage 80 percent of annual rainfall and include space for film screenings and a vegetable garden.
"StartUptown is grateful to PWSA for enabling us to demonstrate the integration of high-quality green space and green infrastructure into the urban environment, while showcasing techniques for water harvesting, food production and renewable energy,” Dale McNutt, director of StartUptown, said. “Uptown is a national EcoDistrict implementing a new model of public-private partnerships with an emphasis on innovation and district-scale best practices to create resilient, vibrant and resource efficient neighborhoods.”
While the majority of the awards are for GI projects, a few are for educational programs, such as a video series linked to a bike tour route proposed by DECO Resources, a local design, engineering and construction firm. PWSA will work with some of the grant recipients to monitor the impact of their projects on reducing stormwater runoff.
The Green Infrastructure Grant Program aligns with PWSA’s Wet Weather Feasibility Study to improve water quality by managing stormwater in greener ways, boost the local market for GI design and installation services, increase public awareness of GI benefits and stimulate economic development.
All projects were reviewed by PWSA and members of PWSA’s Green Infrastructure Technical Advisory Committee. The Green Infrastructure Grant Program is based on successful programs implemented in cities such as Milwaukee, New York, Seattle and Portland, Ore.