A critical component of our ongoing systemwide renewal involves a creative approach to managing stormwater that reduces its heavy burden on sewers. Too much stormwater can lead to unfortunate outcomes such as overflows into our waterways, flooding, and backups into basements. To combat this, we are reimagining how stormwater is collected via a series of innovative projects across the city.
“Pittsburgh is a particularly challenging city for stormwater management due to its varied topography,” said Project Manager, Meghan Simek. “Interestingly, however, we are discovering that the city’s natural features can often work to our advantage.”
Spearheading these efforts is a team of talented engineers who put their heads together to plan and execute unique solutions for the many pressing stormwater challenges that we confront. Their methods include utilizing a combination of green and gray infrastructure to improve the wet weather conditions of a given project area. Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and other natural elements to restore the natural processes required to manage water locally and create healthier urban environments. Gray infrastructure uses man-made, engineered components such as gutters, storm sewers, tunnels, culverts, detention basins, pipes, and mechanical devices to capture and convey runoff.
For example, the Saw Mill Run Stream Restoration Project (pictured above) in Overbrook uses natural (green) and engineered (gray) solutions to reduce the amount of pollution and debris entering the stream, protect against future erosion, and slow down the speed that water travels during intense storms.
“I enjoy working for PWSA because I am contributing back to my community, better understanding the challenges we are facing, and helping develop solutions for these stormwater-related challenges,” said Associate Project Manager, Ana Flores, who managed the Saw Mill Run Stream Restoration project.
Stormwater projects often require close collaboration with external stakeholders including local government, community groups, and residents, which each member of the team acknowledged is a rewarding part of the process.
“Many stormwater projects involve partnerships with the City or other local agencies, and I like that I am able to help deliver projects that include partnerships and shared benefits, such as a renewed community park,” said Associate Project Manager, Ryan Quinn, in reference to the Wightman Park Stormwater Project.
To learn more about our stormwater projects, please visit Pgh2o.com/projects-maintenance/search-all-projects.
“PWSA is one of Pittsburgh’s leaders in green infrastructure and is undergoing many positive changes.” - PWSA Associate Project Manager, Maria Natoli