River restoration via adaptive management: Pittsburgh’s next revitalization goal

The most livable city. The next Portland. Among the top 10 cities to visit. Best food city.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has been on an ever-increasing number of best-of lists in the past few years.

One list you won’t see us on, though, is cleanest water or best river life. It’s time to change that.

We must fix our sewer overflow problem using equitable, progressive policy and technology to maintain our accelerating march toward becoming one of America’s premier cities.

That is why the recent Environmental Protection Agency approval of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s request for an adaptive-management approach to fix our sewer system is a massive victory for ratepayers and our region.

An adaptive-management approach that maximizes green infrastructure is exactly the right approach for our region now and for generations to come. Rather than locking all of our money into tunnels, a regional adaptive-management approach would allow us to work together across municipal boundaries to continually incorporate new strategies as technology improves.

Pittsburgh cannot rely on 19th-century technological fixes to our 21st-century problems. Mr. Peduto and Mr. Fitzgerald have proposed the visionary solution we need, ALCOSAN supports it and the EPA has given us the flexibility we need to pursue it.

Now it is up to our region to seize the opportunity to implement this visionary solution so that we can fix our sewer infrastructure, invest in our communities and clean up our rivers.

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