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Storm-water runoff can make Carnegie dog park a muddy mess

| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Dog owners who use the Carnegie Park dog park hope a rain garden will fix the storm-water runoff that creates a mud pit in the middle of the area — which, they say, is not just a nuisance, but dangerous.

“When the little dogs get flying around out there and hit that wet, muddy clay, they can hurt themselves,” said Bridget VanDorn, a Carnegie resident who takes her dog to the park.

She said dogs at the park — especially smaller ones — get muddy from the constant water draining into the park. She said she has seen some dogs spin out in the mud, and she and other owners worry it's only a matter of time before one gets hurt.

Borough council, dog owners and members of Carnegie's shade tree commission hope a rain garden will alleviate the problem.

A $10,000 grant for the garden was secured by shade tree commission member Bob Podurgiel. The borough will match 20 percent.

“It's always been somewhat of an issue,” council President Pat Catena said about the water runoff. “When we did more paving by the playground, that added more. The water follows that paved curve directly into the dog park.”

He said he is not sure why the issue was not addressed during construction of the dog park.

The rain garden, he said, will redirect runoff to an area where it can be absorbed underground before it gets to the dog park.

“The other concern is that the water runoff — as well as the water that's underneath — has the potential to wash the park down the hill,” said VanDorn, who also is a shade tree commission member.

Borough manager Stephen Beuter there is no time frame or design yet for the rain garden, but it will go near the entrance to the dog park.

Plants and gravel in a rain garden could collect water so it filters down into the ground slowly, as opposed to running into the dog park.

“Underneath the garden, in the part you don't see but that does a lot of work, is gravel, sand and different sizes of rocks,” she said. “It catches the water and holds it there.”

From there, she said, long-rooted water-absorbent plants work to suck up the water rather than letting it roll down the hill.

“It creates different filtration layers so the water will go down through them slowly,” she said. “The idea is to engineer an attractive and environmentally advantageous way to prevent runoff.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Medial. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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