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Nine Mile Run blog

11
Mar

Today’s blog post comes from the Clean Rivers Campaign – an education & advocacy program designed to raise awareness of the stormwater runoff and sewage overflow issues in Allegheny County. NMRWA is one of the CRC’s six founding organizations.

These signs, which designate areas where sewage overflows can occur, are easy to find along Pittsburgh’s waterways. This one is on the South Side, adjacent to the public boat ramp next to the Birmingham Bridge.

These signs, which designate areas where sewage overflows can occur, are easy to find along Pittsburgh’s waterways. This one is on the South Side, adjacent to the public boat ramp next to the Birmingham Bridge.

Two years ago, the Clean Rivers Campaign launched an advocacy campaign to educate our elected officials and the public about the opportunity to create a sustainable and vibrant Pittsburgh by investing in a green first approach to solving our stormwater runoff and sewer overflow problems.

The response has been incredible – Pittsburghers recognize it’s good for families, workers, and the environment to maximize our largest ever public investment to stop water pollution AND solve multiple community needs at the same time.

Recent events show that our advocacy has paid off! A few weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruled that ALCOSAN’s current, gray infrastructure-only plan for solving our region’s water quality problems was “deficient.”

Rain gardens, like this one in front of the Edgewood train station, are one type of green solution that can be used to help curb sewer overflows in Pittsburgh.

Mayor Peduto responded with enthusiastic agreement, and we now have a real opportunity to build a “green first” plan for the Pittsburgh region that maximizes investment in green solutions, reinvests in neighborhoods, and creates family sustaining jobs. THEN we can looks to what complimentary gray strategies are needed to meet full water quality compliance.

But our work is far from over. Just recently, ALCOSAN reported that the Department of Justice (who serves as the legal representative for the EPA) has indicated a willingness to renegotiate the Consent Decree and to reach a new agreement by April—a very short window of opportunity!

We know that EPA officials have been flexible in allowing other cities to prioritize green solutions. But, ALCOSAN has shown that they lack the vision needed to make a “green first” strategy successful and to make large-scale green solutions a reality, we need visionary leadership at ALCOSAN. We also need compelling local data to guide implementation, and sustained public pressure to hold ALCOSAN accountable.

These three critical pieces stand between the choice to bury billions of public dollars under our rivers or to invest that money in ways that will create clean water, healthy communities, and economic opportunities for generations to come.

We need your help. And we need to act fast.

More than 175 people came out to our campaign launch during Summer 2012. We asked the EPA to let us prioritize green solutions, and all our hard work is starting to pay off! Thank you!

More than 175 people came out to our campaign launch during Summer 2012. We asked the EPA to let us prioritize green solutions, and all our hard work is starting to pay off! Thank you!

You stood with us at ALCOSAN public hearings and Beyond Tunnel Vision presentations. We need you to stand with us now as we keep up the pressure, educate our policy makers, and hold our leaders accountable to building a sustainable and equitable green-first sewer plan.

We also need your help to raise funds for something no one else has done—a study demonstrating the water quality improvements and community benefits that could result in from a green-first investment in the Pittsburgh region. This information will help leaders and advocates make the case for a “green first” plan.

We are calling on our supporters—you—to show your support for green solutions, bycontributing what you can to make the study happen.

In a recent letter to the Clean Rivers Campaign, Cynthia Giles, the Assistance Administrator for Compliance from the EPA wrote:

“Given the multiple benefits, EPA encourages the use of green infrastructure to the maximum extent possible. The EPA is supportive of, but cannot compel communities to employ green infrastructure practices. Communities can, however, propose the use of green infrastructure in their wet weather plans. We encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas on green infrastructure with ALCOSAN.”

Our work over the past two years has shown that Pittsburgh does want to go green. Now it’s time to make it happen. Please visit our IOBY crowdfunding campaign at: https://www.ioby.org/project/green-first-burgh

Thank you!

06
Mar

East End Food Coop_logo

Did you know that the East End Food Co-op, which is Pittsburgh’s only member-owned natural and organic food market, is located in the Nine Mile Run Watershed? You can often find NMRWA staff there during lunch – we love their salad bar and hot food selection, not to mention the delicious drinks and snacks that are also available.

NMRWA has partnered with the EEFC many times in the past, and we really appreciate that part of their mission is to support environmental responsibility and their community. One way they accomplish this goal is through their Register Round-up Program. This program allows customers to choose to round-up their bill to the nearest dollar, with that rounded-up amount benefiting a local organization. The EEFC selects a new organization each month, and NMRWA was honored to be chosen as the recipient for January 2014!

Employees from NMRWA represented the organization at EEFC almost every weekend in January to tell people about our work – maybe you saw us there? We heard from many patrons that they have been long supporters of NMRWA and planned to “round-up” that day. Thank you to them, and to EEFC for their support and selection of NMRWA as the Round-up Recipient!

We are excited to announce that we received more than $730 from the Co-op that was raised during January – proof that small donations really do add up! We are looking forward to continued partnership with them, and are so thankful for all of our supporters who continue to help us conserve and protect the Nine Mile Run watershed.

03
Mar

Remember this?

old home page

The old Nine Mile Run Watershed Association website is a thing of the past!

Thanks to hours of hard work by NMRWA staff and some very talented designers we worked with last fall at Pittsburgh Give Camp, we have updated our site with a new, mobile & tablet-friendly design, better organization, and new features – like this blog & an easier process to register for events.

We will be continuing to add content and information in the coming months, but please take a look around and let us know what you think – we hope you like it!

Also, make sure you’ve liked us on Facebook and Twitter, and consider subscribing to our blog – these are the best ways to stay up to date on what NMRWA is working on and has to offer.

We hope to see you in the watershed soon!

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