The Red Oak and Hayson Green Infrastructure (GI) project, located in the Banksville neighborhood, is the first GI project completed by PWSA to manage stormwater in a residential neighborhood.
A little rain didn’t stop people from attending PWSA’s Red Oak and Hayson Green Infrastructure Tour on November 2
nd. After all, the purpose of green infrastructure is to manage stormwater and reduce flooding. It was a great day to see the systems in action.
This quiet residential neighborhood was prone to flooding, and homeowners, particularly those those at the bottom of the hill, frequently experienced basement backups. Since the project was completed no flooding or back-ups have been reported and the project is doing what it is intended.
The tour featured three of the 15 systems built throughout the neighborhood. Starting at the top of the Hayson Avenue hill, the GI systems work together with a series of rain gardens and bioretention systems that filter pollutants, absorb and store water, and slow its flow into the sewer system. The rain gardens include vegetation native to Western PA and plants such as Soft Rush, Switchgrass, Butterfly Milkweed, and Blackeyed Susan, which are often used in rain gardens. Engineered soil, a layer of gravel, and R-tanks make-up the bioretention systems that retain and slowly release water into the ground and eventually to the sewer system.
In addition to reducing flooding, the systems help to improve water quality by removing pollutants from the water. The plants and soils used mimic nature and absorb them into the ground. As a result, they are removed before entering our rivers and waterways.
“Green infrastructure provides the ability to manage stormwater where it falls,” said James J. Stitt, PWSA Sustainability Manager. “We’ll have a greater ability to reduce flooding and meet our regulatory requirements to eliminate combined sewer overflows by keeping stormwater out of the pipes.”
This was the first project PWSA completed in a residential neighborhood. We are pleased to report that it is working to reduce flooding. Collectively, the 15 systems manage 2.23 acres of impervious area, have the capacity to store more than 41,000 gallons of water, and can manage a storm size of .69 inches.
PWSA continues to work with residents to address questions about the plants and vegetation installed in the rain gardens and the systems are monitored to provide data on the amount of stormwater entering and exiting the system.
Green infrastructure is an exciting component of PWSA's Capital Improvement Plan. Three projects are currently under construction and several more are planned for 2018. For more information about PWSA’s Green Infrastructure program, please visit