Installing solar panels, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from OregonDOT’s photostream

I had the opportunity to travel to Philadelphia (this was before the Pens started playing the Flyers, so it was ok) at the beginning of April to speak to the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference about Pittsburgh’s stormwater challenges and the work City Council has done to help meet them. My friends, Tom Hoffman of Clean Water Action and Barney Oursler of the Clean Rivers Campaign, asked me to join them for a panel discussion entitled “Sewer Infrastructure — The Biggest Public Investment in History.”

We spoke about the need for a green solution to our combined sewer overflow problem and our many stormwater challenges, rather than the incredibly expensive, disruptive “grey” solutions currently being proposed by the PWSA and ALCOSAN. We also discussed what has been done at the local level by Pittsburgh City Council to require that when public dollars are spent for private development that the developers use the best available environmental technologies to capture stormwater on the site and reduce harmful diesel emissions from their construction equipment.

Cleaning up our rivers, ensuring that we’re using the best available technologies when building new housing or office space, and working with labor unions and nonprofits to train or retrain our workers is creating economic results for our City. With cutting-edge green technology and a healthy and safe environment, we can attract the kind of high-paying jobs we need in this region.

storm sewer, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from midquel’s photostream