Our Watershed: The hidden creek beneath us…
Water is constantly involved in any single stage of the Water Cycle. Be it rain, condensation, snow, or a flowing river, water is on the move. When it is moving, water always flows downhill.
In the beginning it may only be the trickle of a spring, coming up from the Groundwater. As you follow the flow of that crick over hollows and hills, that basin ridge outline is called a Watershed. Watersheds are the collection points for all the water as it flows off the land in a river system.
In an urban and developed city like Pittsburgh, those watersheds are still here, however they now are hidden below our feet, in pipes. We call them sewersheds, and they connect us, from the highest hill to the point of our three rivers. Sewersheds follow all the same rules as watersheds.
The Mon Water Project will focus on the watershed basin, flowing through a sewershed, along the Monongahela River.
Our Basin: The geography of our watershed…
The Mon Water Project is home to 4 Mile Run (4MR), a watershed/sewershed located four miles from the point in Pittsburgh on the Monongahela river. Both sewers and cricks in the Oakland, Greenfield, Squirrel Hill, Schenley Park, and Hazelwood neighborhoods flow through this pipe system. This pipe system is hidden beneath our feet, under roads, houses and sidewalks.
On dry days, the water in these pipes flows down under Greenfield Avenue, making its way through larger and larger pipes ,deep underground, to the Allegheny County Sewer Authority (ALCOSAN). That is our regional WasteWater Treatment facility. There it is treated and released in the Ohio River.
On Wet days, the entire system’s contents flow out into the Monongahela River through the M-29 outfall, a big discharge pipe, under Hazelwood Green. Similar, smaller unnamed streams and pipes are under and throughout Hazelwood. They discharge on wet days to individual outfalls counting up to M-40, near Glen Hazel. Combined, these systems make up the Monongahela peninsula of Pittsburgh and the Basin for the Mon Water Project.
Our Spring Water: The trickle of an Idea…
The MWP creates connections across governments, agencies, non-profits, businesses, and residents to direct resources to develop and implement integrated water resource plans based on One Water principles in 4MR and neighboring watersheds.
Our Groundwater: The foundation to build from…
MWP will use principles based on a philosophy known as One Water. One Water is the focus on all aspects of water, with equal value and importance, seeing the water cycle as continuous, and water systems as overlapping. This approach removes traditional water permitting “silos” and allows a community to address many issues at once.
Our Tributaries: Working together as a community…
Our work centers environmental justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion as we build community power for the management of our watersheds.
Our Floodwater: The challenges of urban restoration are substantial…
Over five years ago, Pittsburgh Water Sewer Authority was looking to address flooding, manage stormwater, rehabilitate old infrastructure, and decrease water pollution to the Monongahela river. They began the design, modeling, and implementation of the 4 Mile Stormwater Project. The project is hoping to improve the quality of life, protect property, and change the hydrology of a watershed affecting the lower half of the neighborhood in Greenfield, known as the micro-neighborhood “In the Run.” The Run historically floods with only a half inch of rainfall. It isn’t just any flooding, its manhole popping raw sewage that flows directly into homeowner basements, central streets, and neighborhood cornerstone businesses. Residents in The Run neighborhood have had to silently endure the issues for years. When the PWSA 4MR Stormwater Project was being developed, the residents of The Run worked hard to advocate for their community needs. With a unified voice they asked for real and last solutions.
Our Water. Our Work.
The Mon Water Project will build on the current ‘swell’ of resident and organizational movements that grew from the 4MR Stormwater Project. MWP will work to develop a unified strategy for ALL our water resources, partner to implement projects that protect the residents of our most vulnerable communities, and build an educated coalition of neighbors that advocate for science based solutions in our cricks and hollows.
The path forward is clear (unlike the muddy waters of the Monongahela) and with the support of New Sun Rising as a fiscal sponsor, starting in October 2022, The Mon Water Project is ready to officially launch. Follow us, join us, and support us as we flow towards a future that is truly sustainably alongside the Monongahela River.
Will you join us?