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Scott Township officials discuss water conservation

| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

With a few extra steps, Western Pennsylvanians might reduce flooding.

Measures such as rain barrels and rain gardens are largely untapped resources, specialists say.

David Jason, vice president of the Scott Township Commissioners, attended a 3 Rivers Wet Weather seminar and said he would like to promote ways for residents to better control flooding on their property.

Commissioners have discussed the issue.“It's an idea I was going to bring to the board later as a solution,“ Jason said.

If more residents take an active role in controlling water, the better the chance that sewer and storm-water systems will not overflow during periods of heavy rain, Jason said.

Rain barrels are becoming more common as residents try to conserve water.

The water can be used for watering lawns, doing laundry or washing cars. Rain gardens simply contain plants that absorb a lot of water.

Jane Sorcan, treasurer of the Scott Conservancy, said she sees a solution with rain barrels and rain gardens.

“Its purpose is to take water out of the system,” Sorcan said. “This way, it doesn't end up in the sewer or storm drains.”

Flood reduction isn't the only benefit of rain barrels and gardens.

“With sewage bills potentially getting raised, a rain barrel or rain garden will really save you money,” Sorcan said.

The Scott Conservancy is holding a seminar about rain barrels and rain gardens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11 at the lodge in Scott Park.

Porous paving is another way to help reduce flooding, said John Poister, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. With porous pavement, much of the water seeps through the pavement and into the ground, he said.

A professional has to install the material, which, Poister said, can be expensive. Water flow also is a potential problem, he said.

“You don't want to introduce water into areas that can't handle it,” township engineer Larry Lennon said. “When you deal with water, you have to think about where it's going to go.”

Officials and specialists say a collaborative approach is the key to flood reduction.

“The more people that use these things the more water will be diverted from draining into the streets,” Poister said. “But people have to learn there are options, and if they're buying a new home they need to ask if these options are available.”

Jason agreed.

“In a perfect world, you would hope everybody would use those and it would work,” Jason said. “But I really doubt that everyone would go out and spend the money.”

David Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5804 or

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