Penn State Partnership Aims to Reduce Flooding in Pittsburgh Area

By Hilary Appelman and Dave Aneckstein, Penn State

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 95 building along with homes on Saline and Alexis Streets in Pittsburgh’s Four Mile Run area will have lessened street and basement flooding thanks to a collaborative partnership with the Penn State Center: Engaging Pittsburgh, the City of Pittsburgh, Local 95 and community members. Leaders gathered yesterday to officially cut the ribbon on a storm water mitigation project that may serve as an example for other flood prone areas.

“Residents in Pittsburgh’s Four Mile Run neighborhood will see reduced flooding from heavy rains thanks to this innovative green infrastructure project that we hope will serve as a model for other flood prone areas,” Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. “I want to thank Local 95, the Penn State Center, TreeVitalize — and of course, our hard working Public Works crews for their collaboration and efforts to make this project a reality.”

The mitigation project uses specially designed curbs and planting strips to collect and channel storm runoff. The sidewalks are made of pervious concrete, which allows rainwater to run into the gravel and earth below instead of into the street. The design is intended to prevent large amounts of water from overwhelming nearby streams and storm water systems.

“The collaborative project is the fruit of relationships the Penn State Center has built over the years with City residents, community groups, government and local corporations,” said Penn State Center director Deno De Ciantis said. “Our interest is to promote research-based best management practices to accomplish specific goals identified by our local communities.”

Community volunteers and members of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 95 planted 12 sweet bay magnolia and serviceberry trees provided by TreeVitalize, and Penn State students and Penn State Center staff planted perennials, grasses and shrubs.

“This is truly an innovative and impressive project that not only solves a long-standing problem, but has great potential for broader use,” said City Councilman Corey O’Connor. “It’s an excellent example of what government can achieve by working with community stakeholders to achieve a common goal.”

The concrete was donated by Bryan Materials Group, which also donated training for City construction workers. The City’s Department of Public Works donated the construction labor. TreeVitalize awarded 12 trees for the project and Councilman Corey O’Connor donated neighborhood needs funding for the shrubs, perennials and grass.

For more information on The Penn State Center, visit online.

The Penn State Center: Engaging Pittsburgh is a collaboration of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Cooperative Extension, and Outreach, connecting local needs to the knowledge resources throughout the Penn State system.

PHOTO: Shaw Library Receives Contribution to Unveil Semi-annual Story Series on Monday

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