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PWSA launches stormwater survey on EnagagePGH

 


Using the interactive web portal, engage.pittsburghpa.gov/stormwater, the Pittsburgh community can plot the location of stormwater issues like basement backups, overland flooding, and maintenance concerns on a map. Collaborators can also rank topics they'd like to see addressed in order of importance and pose stormwater-related questions to PWSA's stormwater project managers.

The EngagePGH platform, available through the City of Pittsburgh, is one opportunity residents will have to participate in the long-term stormwater strategic planning efforts underway at the Pittsburgh Wate r and Sewer Authority (PWSA). The site also includes a video and an FAQ about our strategic planning efforts, which provide participants with multiple ways to learn about this important work.

"EngagePGH is one additional tool we can use to gather feedback about the stormwater challenges Pittsburgh residents frequently experience," said Tony Igwe, Stormwater Group manager at PWSA. "Community input is essential to our long-term planning efforts, and we appreciate those who take the time to share their ideas and concerns with us."

The initial phase of the stormwater strategic plan looked through the four lenses of water quality, localized flooding, environmental justice, and opportunity locations for future stormwater projects and green infrastructure. Community ambassadors organized by Grounded Strategies, were recruited to conduct surveys and were our boots on the ground hearing directly from residents in the areas where these factors most aligned.

These watersheds and neighborhoods, highlighted on the map below, include Four Mile Run, Negley and Heth's Run, Soho Run, S. 21st Street, Homewood and Larimer, Saw Mill Run, Woods Run, Hazelwood, and Sheraden. 

The community surveys are an important component of the strategic plan. In addition to the stormwater challenges and problems residents frequently experience, they also offer insight into customers' communication preferences with PWSA, their awareness of the stormwater fee, and overall experience when calling us with concerns or questions about water services. 

The survey results, along with the full report from the first phase of the stormwater strategic plan, will be posted to our website for public comment later this summer and in early fall, we will host a community meeting to share recommendations from the plan as well as next steps about our stormwater strategic planning efforts. 

The planning PWSA is embarking upon is necessary to develop a long-term stormwater management strategy that will serve as Pittsburgh's blueprint to address local stormwater challenges, capacity issues within the sewer system, as well as combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer overflows to improve water quality. 

Historically, stormwater has always created challenges for Pittsburgh and the region. Now, increasing storms due to climate change, often overwhelm the sewer system resulting in basement backups, flooded streets, and raw sewage spilling into the rivers. Improved stormwater and sewer infrastructure, along with comprehensive stormwater management, is needed to reduce the impacts of too much rain and create a city that can sustain the effects of climate change. The next phase of the planning process focuses on modeling the sewer system to understand its capacity and will begin to define an equitable level of stormwater protection that can be provided across Pittsburgh. 

"Completing the stormwater strategic plan is a long-term investment in Pittsburgh, said PWSA CEO Will Pickering. "Although it will take time to fully develop and implement, a comprehensive stormwater plan will better prepare our city for the impacts of climate change, prioritize future projects, and over time bring multiple environmental and community benefits to Pittsburgh's neighborhoods."

 

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