Settlement of a lawsuit between PennFuture and the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority will ensure that future development projects receiving substantial public funds will use green infrastructure and low-impact management practices to manage stormwater and prevent off-site discharges that commonly carry pollution to area streams and rivers.
PennFuture announced agreement in a case concerning the City's enforcement of 2010 legislation that required the use of green infrastructure and low impact management practices to ensure that the development not allow the off-site discharge of precipitation from a 95 percent or less rainfall event.
"This settlement not only ensures the City's use of green infrastructure best practices, it will improve public health and safety while saving taxpayer money," said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of PennFuture. "We thank the Peduto administration for not only talking the talk but walking the walk when it comes to making Pittsburgh a more resilient city."
PennFuture brought this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania prior to Mayor Peduto's administration, alleging that the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and the City of Pittsburgh had not required green infrastructure and low impact development practices to control stormwater on a 50 acre property being development by the Buncher Company in the Strip District between 11th and 21st Streets.
"It's not enough to have forward-thinking policies if they are not enforced," added George Jugovic, Jr., chief counsel for PennFuture. "By agreeing to submit its green infrastructure ordinance to be made a part of its state-approved stormwater management program, the City ensures that this and future administrations will reduce pollution to area streams from publicly funded developments using green infrastructure techniques as originally intended by the ordinance."
The ordinance, authored by then-councilman Peduto, sought to ensure that environmental best management practices were employed by the City to reduce stormwater pollution.
Stormwater runoff carries many toxic pollutants, dirt and garbage to rivers and streams. Studies show that this pollution rivals sewage plants and large factories as a source of harm to waterways.The use of green infrastructure and low-impact management practices - including bioswales, rain gardens, green roofs, rain barrels, and buffers - capture and return stormwater runoff to restore part of the natural water cycle that is lost because of development.