State awards $1.2M for regional stream, storm water projects
The state Department of Environmental Protection has awarded $1.2 million in Growing Greener grants to help with storm water management and stream improvement projects across Westmoreland, Armstrong and Allegheny counties.
• Saint Vincent College, $213,295 — To fund repairs to the college’s acid mine drainage treatment ponds and remove built-up sludge at the Monastery Run Improvement Project site.
The ponds slow down water before it enters Monastery Run, allowing iron and other pollutants to drop out and remain behind. But, after more than 20 years of service, “the efficacy of the… system has been compromised due to an accumulation of sludge from iron precipitating out of the acid mine drainage,” noted DEP spokesperson Lauren Fraley.
• Westmoreland Conservation District, $104,196, Hempfield Township storm basin retrofits — According to Rob Cronauer, watershed program manager, the conservation district intends to improve about 5-10 basins to increase the storm water they will hold over a given time, often by reducing the diameter of the hole where the water exits.
In the process, “we show the municipality how they can do these,” he said, explaining the conservation district has completed similar projects in Lower Burrell, Penn Township and Murrysville. He said the Hempfield project likely will occur in 2020.
• Westmoreland Conservation District, $57,315, Latrobe refuse and recyclable transfer station, stream bank remediation — To address an embankment that is eroding along the Loyalhanna Creek, spilling into the water pieces of glass that were discarded generations ago, Cronauer said.
The fix, he said, will involve “pulling old fill back to historic grades.”
• Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, $146,000, Tubmill Creek Restoration Phase II — The project in Fairfield Township will restore 3,700 feet of eroding stream banks and plant three acres of trees in three locations in the Tubmill watershed. Tubmill Creek is a tributary to the Conemaugh River. Partners for this project include Fairfield Township, the Westmoreland County Conservation District, the state Fish and Boat Commission and Tubmill Trout Club.
The project “will stabilize eroding stream banks, help protect the biologic integrity of the streams and improve water quality,” said Jenifer Christman, vice president of watershed conservation for the conservancy.
• Penn Township commissioners, $70,000, to kick-start a Harrison Park storm water system project meant to improve the Brush Creek watershed. Funding will go toward design, permitting, surveying and project management for converting two storm water detention basins to dry detention basins — to reduce sediment that enters Brush Creek.
• Allegheny County Conservation District, $45,000, Boyce Park storm water management project — The goal is to reduce sediment and improve water quality in the Turtle Creek watershed by converting two asphalt parking lots to permeable surfaces, installing a rain garden and establishing two hillside meadows in Plum Borough.
• Municipality of Bethel Park, $18,000, Saw Mill Run stream restoration — The goal is to reduce sediment pollution into the stream by more than 2.5 tons per year, by stabilizing 36 feet of stream banks.
• Armstrong County Conservation District, $331,541, to install agricultural best management practices at the Brian Kimmel Farm in Plumcreek Township — This project is meant to reduce nutrient-laden runoff into Plum Creek, a tributary of Crooked Creek, by means of waste storage and transfer facilities, fencing, roof runoff and improved drainage controls, watering facilities and an animal walkway.
• Armstrong County Conservation District, $149,705, for a similar project at the Stewart Farm in Rayburn Township This project is expected to reduce nutrient runoff into the Cowanshannock Creek Watershed through development of a manure stacking facility, area plantings and mulching, fencing, roof runoff controls, animal walkways, water and sediment control structures, and a waste storage facility.
• Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, $82,552, Buffalo Creek Restoration Project Phase 2 — The project will stabilize banks and improve aquatic habitat along more than 1,200 feet of the stream in West Franklin Township. Buffalo Creek is a tributary to the Allegheny River. Partners in the project include the state Fish and Boat Commission, Armstrong County Conservation District and Buffalo Valley Sportsmen Club.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .