New Tree Pits
Our work in the Rosedale Runoff Reduction Project (RRRP) area continues as we aim to complete the first phase of the project by the end of 2016. A major component of the project is the planting of 40 street trees in stormwater management tree pits.
This month one of our contractors, Penn Landscape & Cement Work, completed the first four of these tree pits on Rosedale Street. The process included several months of design revisions and meetings with the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works. The tree pits, planted with Black Gum trees, are designed to be lower than the street grade so they will capture street runoff through curb cuts for ground infiltration.
As part of the Operation Better Block Cluster Planning Process, residents voiced their interest in adding green design elements to Rosedale Street. These tree pits are a first step.
Vacant Lot Cleanups
Also, in early April, Nine Mile Run staff worked with two volunteer groups to clean-up three vacant lots on the corner of Rosedale and Hill Streets, next to the Port Authority’s Wilkinsburg Busway parking lot. With the help of 33 volunteers, over 100 trash bags were removed along with 15 tires!
The groups included students from a nature writing graduate class at Chatham University on April 4, who removed over 60 bags of trash and nine tires. On April 12, international students from Bosnia and Herzegovina, visiting through Magee-Women’s International Youth Leadership Program finished cleaning up the lots, collecting more than 40 bags of trash and eight tires. The groups also toured the restoration area of the NMR stream in lower Frick Park before the clean-up to get a sense of where the trash would end up if it had not been cleaned up in the upper watershed.
Stay tuned for more projects in the Rosedale area!
The following post is a guest blog entry from Eric Martin, a Coro Fellow who interned with Nine Mile Run for the last eight weeks.
My name is Eric Martin and I am currently working at Nine Mile Run as part of my nine month long experience as a Coro Fellow. What is the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs? The Coro Fellowship is a leadership development program in Pittsburgh for young adults who want to pursue a career in public affairs. The Fellowship is focused on training individuals who, as citizens and leaders, will all their lives act constructively and competently to build up and improve their communities and society as a whole.
I am originally from Fairmont, WV and graduated in 2010 from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. In my time since graduating, I have been fortunate enough to have been able to work in short, but connected, experiences that have allowed me to live in other parts of the country and the world while gaining a wide range of skills. Before joining Nine Mile Run for my eight week placement, I was placed at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, where I was tasked with consulting and recommending improvements to their Operations Department.
At Nine Mile Run, I have been fortunate enough to be thrown right in the mix! On my second day, I found myself in the heart of the Nine Mile Run stream helping Maranda and Abbey with our monthly stream sampling. It is unbelievable to think that that was during the second week of January and it is now almost March, and my time here is almost over. In between, I have helped with marketing and project initiatives with Mike, accounting with Lindsey-Rose, learned how to build rain barrels with Paul, attended Clean Rivers Campaign meetings with Brenda, and worked a lot with Jared and the StormWorks crew! Phew!
I want to thank everyone here for being so welcoming and nice! I have felt right at home and a part of the team from the moment I started working here. My hope is that I have helped here in some way and will continue helping to advance the mission of Nine Mile Run in my final weeks here as well as moving forward in my career!
On Saturday, September 26th, Nine Mile Run staff held a work day with five Operation Better Block Jr. Green Corps students to cleanup three vacant lots on Oakwood & Batavia Streets in Homewood as part of the Rosedale Runoff Reduction Project (RRRP). The OBB students and staff (Jerome Jackson and Demi Kolke) helped NMR staff remove 33 tires and 12 bags of trash from the lots. The weeds were cut down with brush cutters and taken to Agrecycle to be processed into compost or mulch.
This intersection will be the location of the first RRRP construction project scheduled to start in October to install green stormwater infrastructure (GSI). The purpose for cleaning up the lots was to prevent litter from washing into the nearby storm drains whens it rains and eventually into Nine Mile Run. Hopefully this will lessen the load of future stream sweeps!
The Oakwood-Batavia project is scheduled to begin construction in later October. It will be the first GSI facility to be constructed that will extend into the roadway in the City of Pittsburgh. Nine Mile Run with the help of Ethos Collaborative has been working with the City DPW and PWSA to finalize all design features to meet all codes and ordinances.
Nine Mile Run is also hosting a stream tour for residents of Homewood and East Hills on Thursday, October 15th. For more information about the RRRP, please visit: rosedalerain.com
Most of you are aware by now there is an issue of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) polluting Nine Mile Run. During wet weather, our watershed’s aging combined sewer systems do not have the capacity to handle both stormwater and sewage so they overflow into Nine Mile Run, introducing pathogens, trash, and other pollutants to the stream. We have actively worked to correct this issue through green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) interventions in the upper watershed over the last 14 years, including installing rain barrels and rain gardens and planting over 900 street trees.
Despite all of this effort, however, we still have degraded water quality during and after wet weather. When we developed our 2013-15 Strategic Plan there was one main goal: to reduce the flow of stormwater and sewage into Nine Mile Run.
We understood to achieve this goal we would need to install GSI facilities capable of capturing large quantities of stormwater before it enters the combined sewer system. In 2014, we worked with Matt Graham of Landbase Systems to identify areas in the watershed that have high amounts of stormwater flowing into curb inlets and eventually overflowing into Nine Mile Run. Through detailed analysis, he identified an area in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which is actually outside of the watershed, but is part of the Nine Mile Run sewershed, that contributes over 25 million gallons of stormwater and sewerage overflow to the stream annually during wet weather events.
In case you aren’t familiar, a sewershed is simply a drainage area determined by the curbs, storm drains, pipes, and outfalls that all drain to a common outlet (e.g., Nine Mile Run). It doesn’t match perfectly with the Nine Mile Run watershed boundary because sewersheds often cross the boundaries of watersheds that existed before urbanization.
The Rosedale Runoff Reduction Project (RRRP) is a holistic sustainable stormwater project with the goal to remove all 25 million gallons of overflow entering the stream. We will achieve this by constructing 3 large GSI sites, 40 stormwater management tree pits, 200 Hydra rain containers, and 10 rain gardens.
In October 2014, we were awarded $150,000 from PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) Watershed Restoration and Protection Program to construct one of the GSI sites. And most recently in January, we received notification that we were awarded $236,175 from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Growing Greener Program to construct a second site and install 200 Hydras. Both of these grant awards will allow us to implement the first phase of the RRRP, which proposes to remove 7 million gallons of annual runoff from the combined sewer system.
Stay tuned for proposed plans, details, schedule of implementation, and outreach events related to the RRRP!
Did you know? There are 3 employees at NMRWA named Sara(h)! We don’t always know which one someone is talking to but we always have fun with it.
It can be a challenge sometimes to differentiate between Sara, Sara and Sarah or Sara P and Sarah P, so we thought we would help you out.
We created a little game to get to know the 3 Sara(h)s better. Each Sara(h) answered the same five questions about themselves. Below are the questions and the Sara(h)s’ answers. Read the question and think about which answer you most identify with. Keep track of your responses and at the bottom, you will find a key that will tell you which Sara(h) you most relate to. You can also see what the other two Sara(h)s answered to learn a little more about them. Okay, let’s get started!
1. What is your favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh?
A. Il Pizzaiolo
B. Spak Brothers
C. Mad Mex
2. What is your favorite book, TV show and movie?
A. A Walk Across America, Breaking Bad, and The Life Aquatic
B. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, 30 Rock, and Almost Famous
C. Harry Potter, The West Wing, The Birdcage
3. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be?
A. Tour the country of Iceland
C. Victoria Falls
4. Tea, coffee or hot chocolate?
B. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee
5. What is the last thing you ate?
A. North African Yam Salad from the Co-op
C. Kale salad
If you answered mostly A: you identify most with Sara Madden, the Design Manager for Stormworks.
If you answered mostly B: you identify most with Sarah Peterson, the Communications Program Assistant for NMRWA
If you answered mostly C: you identify most with Sara Powell, the Monitoring and Communications Manager for NMRWA
Which Sara(h) did you get matched with?
We hope this helped distinguish the Sara(h)s a bit more and that it was fun in the process! If you ever see us around the watershed (or our favorite restaurants) be sure to say hi!