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It May be Winter, but That Doesn’t Stop Stormwater Runoff

Pittsburgh WinterWe all know that winter in Pittsburgh means cold and snow, but this winter has been especially challenging.  The snowfall total is almost 23 inches above the average snowfall by this time of year, and is already 5 inches above the average yearly snowfall total!  With the temperature hovering at a frigid 10 degrees, it’s hard to believe that Spring and warmer temperatures are right around the corner.  There is the potential for flooding with the Spring rains and snowmelt, reminding us to take good look at innovative ways to manage stormwater.

On February 6, 2014, we attended the Western PA Storm/Waste Water Symposium sponsored by Advanced Drainage Systems.  Along with representatives from local engineering firms, local County Conservation Districts, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and many others, we were treated to a variety of discussions including integrated watershed planning, changes at the Allegheny County Conservation District, and the latest updates on ALCOSAN’s Wet Weather Plan required by EPA to reduce combined sewer overflows.  The morning culminated in the Keynote session in which Dr. Robert Traver from Villanova University spoke about data collected from the rain gardens constructed on the Villanova campus.

What are the big take-aways?  Evapotranspiration may be hard to measure but it plays a bigger role than most have thought.  To learn more check out this presentation on Villanova’s website.  In addition, Villanova researchers have proven that rain gardens can perform well over a long period of time and be low maintenance.  Find out more about their first rain garden, built in 2001, along with other green infrastructure at the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership.

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