Everything that we do here at NMRWA is only made possible through the continued involvement of local municipal leaders, community groups, and residents. Over the years we have developed programs to empower each of these stakeholders to help improve the water quality of Nine Mile Run. One of our most recent projects, the NMR Stormwater Partnership, provides an opportunity for us to formalize these relationships while meeting the standards of a PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) program.
The program, administered by the DEP, prescribes that every municipality that discharges stormwater from their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) must meet the EPA’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit standards. This program is vital for helping control and reduce the amount of stormwater discharged from our storm sewer system into our local ecosystems. The Boroughs of Edgewood, Swissvale, and Wilkinsburg each must enter into a new permit every five years, with their next permit cycle beginning in 2018.
With this opportunity ahead, in 2016 the three boroughs, NMRWA, and several partners (Allegheny County Conservation District, Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, PA Department of Transportation, Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority, and Three Rivers Wet Weather) decided to form the NMR Stormwater Partnership. The mission statement of the partnership is to “cooperatively conduct community outreach and engagement to meet and exceed the requirements of the PA MS4 Permit”. We are currently working to achieve this through engaging, educating, and empowering specific audiences and stakeholders.
The Partnership meets every other month to share resources and develop programs/projects around improving the water quality of NMR, the approach for which is outlined in the NMR Stormwater Partnership Plan. Other items in the plan include creating shared communications platforms like our new webpage, special events, unique educational approaches, and several campaigns such as anti-litter, Pups4Clean Water, and the native plants campaign. Each of these programs will discuss stormwater at the watershed level, bringing accountability into the home and the community. Success can only be measured by how many residents are empowered to become better environmental stewards, so please join us in this new effort!