Watershed Implementation Plan for Pine Creek finalized

The Council’s western Pa., office has completed a Watershed Implementation Plan for the Pine Creek Watershed located in Allegheny County.

The goal of the plan was to determine how best to reduce the nonpoint source pollutant loads in this watershed.

What makes this plan unique is that this is the first Watershed Implementation Plan that EPA Region 3 has received that is based solely on urban stormwater management measures. Additionally, this plan can be viewed in the context of a much larger Act 167 study that is underway in four watersheds in northern Allegheny County, including Pine Creek. The Act 167 study will create a detailed GIS based watershed model that will evaluate multiple flood control and water quality improvement scenarios and will further the details provided in the Watershed Implementation Plan.

The analysis from the Watershed Implementation Plan determined that there are five main approaches to reducing the impacts of urbanization in the watershed.

  1. The proper implementation of the Act 167 Stormwater Management Ordinance requirements adopted by the Pine Creek municipalities in 2008. These requirements will insure that all significant future development and redevelopment in the watershed be constructed using water quality BMPs such as natural area conservation, stream buffers, enhanced swales, infiltration zones (like rain gardens), and environmentally sensitive subdivisions.
  2. The construction of approximately 19 million cubic feet of additional water quality BMPs to reduce pollutant loading from developed areas. It is recommended that a portion of these water quality volume BMPs be developed by retrofitting existing stormwater dry ponds into wet ponds.
  3. The stabilization of 5.3 more miles of stream banks to reduce erosion.
  4. The use of ‘Green Streets’ concepts in the highly urbanized portions of the watershed. This uses methods such as street side rain gardens and the separation of combined sewers to reduce urban runoff and sewer overflows into the waterway.
  5. The protection of steep slopes and natural areas in the watershed. It is recommended that the municipalities adopt steep slope protection ordinances and encourage the use of conservation easements to protect natural areas within the watershed.

Funding was provided by the DEP through Section 319 of the Federal Clean Water Act Administered by the U.S. EPA. For more information, contact Jen Novak in the Pittsburgh Office.