Waterdrops falling, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from jcarlosn’s photostream

On June 28th, more than 175 people came to the headquarters of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 95 to kick off the Clean Rivers Campaign. The Clean Rivers Campaign is a grassroots organizing effort to push for sustainable solutions to our stormwater challenges. ALCOSAN is set to release their plan for meeting the terms of the EPA’s consent decree for cleaning up our rivers at the end of July. With billions of dollars and the threat of higher costs to ratepayers at stake, it is essential that low-cost, job-creating green infrastructure solutions be a major part of the plan.

Brenda Smith, of the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association had these remarks:

Raw sewage is flowing into our rivers and streams and flooding our basements almost every time it rains. That’s been a problem for a long time in the Pittsburgh region, and fixing it has been a good idea for a long time. Now we don’t have a choice to fix it, but we DO have a choice about HOW we fix it.

We could do it the old-fashioned way and spend years burying billions of dollars in the ground – by building deep storage tunnels and holding tanks OR we could choose a visionary, sustainable path for our region that brings many more benefits to our communities.

Using these green solutions not only keeps the rain out of the sewers, but it also brings a lot of other things our region needs, including more local jobs, revitalized business districts, higher property values, the growth of whole new industries, cleaner air, and much less flooding during big storms. AND, it will cost less than the old-fashioned all-gray approach!

Let’s make the smart choice. Let’s invest in Green Solutions that will help solve all of the these problems at once, and move our communities forward.

In the past year, we’ve written about the problems we face and the opportunity we have to chose a better way many times on this blog. You can learn more about this issue by clicking here, here, here, here and here. And, if you’d like more information on the kickoff event — and view many photographs of it like the one below — check out the Clean Rivers Campaign blog here.

“Action Photo Launch”. Photo by Tom Hoffman