About Header

3 Rivers Wet Weather Launches a Green Infrastructure Project

Online database tool will help to tackle sewage and storm water overflows.

Soon a new online tool will help municipalities tackle a very old problem—sewage and storm water overflows.  With a $250,000 Colcom Foundation Grant, 3 Rivers Wet Weather (3RWW), a Lawrenceville-based non-profit organization committed to improving the region’s water quality, is launching RainWays, an interactive tool that will allow planners and engineers to define priority locations in their municipality where green infrastructure has the highest potential to reduce combined sewer overflows in the ALCOSAN system.

The RainWays database will also locate all known existing green infrastructure in the Pittsburgh region, including green roofs, rain gardens, permeable pavement and bio-filtration systems and feature a web-based tool for property owners that will provide site-specific options for the installation of green infrastructure with a cost/benefit analysis and a list of vendors.

“Our goal is to integrate green infrastructure into the region’s long-term wet weather control plan to the greatest extent possible where appropriate, cost-effective, and sustainable,” said John Schombert, executive director of 3RWW.  Under their current municipal consent orders, communities must work with ALCOSAN to develop a long-term plan for decreasing wet weather overflows.

“When sited properly, green solutions can help to offset (but not entirely eliminate) more traditional gray solutions, such as tanks and tunnels,” he added. (See photo below for example of a green infrastructure placement tool.)

 3RWW has hired engineering firm Tetra Tech and Landbase Systems, a spatial database company, to assist in developing this sophisticated, yet easy-to-use web-based tool that will have applications for myriad audiences, including commercial developers, municipal representatives, homeowners and regulatory agencies to document the use and value of green infrastructure.  Tetra Tech is a national leader in planning, designing, and implementing demonstration projects that highlight the potential for green infrastructure to reduce CSOs.  They bring local experience and understanding and provide national perspective to this project, including the development of  Low-Impact Development design manuals for several large urban areas and the development of the System for Urban Stormwater Treatment and Analysis Integration (SUSTAIN), a tool they developed under contract with the U.S Environmental Protection Agency for evaluating, selecting, and placing green infrastructure practices.  Tetra Tech’s team also includes the Pittsburgh-based WBE engineering firm Collective Efforts, LLC.

Landbase Systems brings extensive experience in the development of detailed, high-level spatial data for the Pittsburgh region.  They will provide spatial database design, processing, map interaction, and spatial data reporting for the green infrastructure tools in this project. 

The first version RainWays, which will be accessible through 3RWW’s website will be completed by March 2012.

Media Contact

For media inquiries, please contact:

Tracy Schubert
Public Outreach Manager