In 2004, PWSA entered into a Consent Order and Agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Allegheny County Health Department to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSO) throughout the City of Pittsburgh. By July 2013, the Authority must submit a Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) detailing the plans and objectives to ultimately bring the system into compliance with the requirements of the Federal Clean Water Act and the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Act.[br][br]

While the ultimate extent and cost of this plan will not be known until it gains final approval, all parties agree that steps must be taken to reduce CSOs in order to protect the environment, public health, and the quality of life we enjoy in Pittsburgh. The protection of these resources and amenities is essential to maintaining both Pittsburgh’s position as one of the world’s most livable places, and as the region’s “green” leader.[br][br]

Therefore, Mayor Ravenstahl has directed PWSA to “ensure that the version of its LTCP submitted to DEP fully consider, and where appropriate, maximize the use of green technologies, practices, and policies that will contribute to the reduction of wet weather flows into the combined sewer system. “[br][br]

To that end, the PWSA is undertaking the Greening of the Pittsburgh Wet Weather Plan. The primary objective of this project is to develop a consensus approach to reviewing, recommending and incorporating a plan for the implementation of stormwater Green Infrastructure (GI) technologies and policies into the City of Pittsburgh\PWSA Wet Weather Feasibility Study. In order to reach that consensus, it will be necessary to explore and resolve issues relative to identifying and maximizing the Gl opportunities, describing and quantifying the benefits of Gl, and effectively addressing impediments to large scale Gl implementation.[br][br]

PWSA will accomplish this by assembling a group of identified local and national experts and interested stakeholders into charrettes tasked with exploring the major issues that are critical to defining the role of stormwater Gl in the City of Pittsburgh, and providing a framework of specific recommendations and action items in the Wet Weather Feasibility Study through which that role can be achieved. The findings of the GI Charrette will constitute a report that summarizes the discussions, conclusions and recommendations and present a list of action items. This information will be incorporated into the City of Pittsburgh/PWSA Wet Weather Feasibility Study to be submitted in July 2013.[br][br]

As you are likely well aware, PWSA is in the midst of creating their Long Term Control Plan, which will document how they intend to comply with the D.E.P. Consent Order. Mayor Ravenstahl has recently directed PWSA to consider the inclusion of green infrastructure as a means to reducing wet weather flows into the combined sewer system. In order to do that, we are seeking your help in understanding what’s possible, potential benefits, technical concerns, and legal, financial, and institutional issues.[br][br]

We will explore these topics through a series of three charrettes, separated by periods of follow-up research. In addition to you, we are inviting other local, regional, and national experts with a variety of perspectives, knowledge, and experience to participate in the charrettes and contribute to the research. Our goal is to reach consensus on the best approaches for including green infrastructure in the LTCP.[br][br]