City and PWSA seeking proposals for innovative citywide stormwater management master plan
November 3, 2020
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) and the City of Pittsburgh have announced plans to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop a comprehensive stormwater master plan for Pittsburgh.
The RFP will seek to engage a visionary project team to develop a global model using the p4 framework of People, Planet, Place, and Performance to provide an innovative, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable blueprint to address one of our region's most challenging problems.
Aging infrastructure and the impacts of climate change have created challenges for stormwater management in Pittsburgh. The increasingly frequent and intense rain causes the combined sewer system to overflow into rivers and streams, flood streets, and cause property damage and health concerns when basements back up with raw sewage. By creating a new comprehensive stormwater management strategy that meets the current circumstances and needs of Pittsburgh, PWSA and the city seek to improve water quality, alleviate flooding, reduce basement back ups, create jobs, and beautify neighborhoods for safer and more resilient communities.
This stormwater management master plan will provide guidance for the short and long term, by identifying priorities and milestones to implement within the next five years including a proposed stormwater fee, pending consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other regulatory mandates. It will also include a long-term outlook with milestones for the next 25 years.
The RFP will require bidders to utilize the p4 framework to provide innovative strategies including the following:
Recommend an approach that prioritizes collaboration of interagency partnerships and identifies opportunities to create a more equitable community through better stormwater management and job creation through the expanded use of green infrastructure.
Address all applicable regulatory requirements and identify best management practices that would incentivize and encourage private property owners to be part of the solution.
Provide performance recommendations to balance the use of green and gray infrastructure, outline appropriate uses for green infrastructure to accommodate Pittsburgh's difficult terrain, and determine the level of stormwater protection to provide across the city.
Analyze other plans in place to recommend distinct outcomes that are beneficial to ratepayers and add value to the community through green infrastructure. It's critical to consider the cost to ratepayers so that they are not paying twice for the same solution.
"We are looking for a holistic approach to address Pittsburgh's stormwater challenges," stated Will Pickering, PWSA's Executive Director. "Establishing a stormwater master plan will direct our energy and resources towards the most effective solutions for our ratepayers. We are looking forward to partnering with a visionary firm to guide us through this complex issue."
"Pittsburgh needs a comprehensive plan to address stormwater," said Paul Leger, PWSA board chair. "Residents are all too familiar with the destruction it causes, and we can no longer allow it to damage property and risk lives. As solutions are identified, we must be very clear about the benefits and limitations ratepayers can expect."
Issuing this RFP demonstrates a significant step in PWSA and the City of Pittsburgh's leadership in community resiliency and sustainable stormwater management. The project has not been assigned a cost to elicit responses that are not constrained by a set funding amount. Instead, PWSA and the City will evaluate responses and present this funding opportunity to private partners, philanthropic organizations, and other government agencies who have expressed interest in a comprehensive approach to managing stormwater.
PWSA and the City of Pittsburgh are committed to pursuing this critical innovative strategy and encourage interested parties to contact PWSA for more information about the RFP. More information is available at www.pgh2o.com/stormwater.