Office of Mayor William Peduto
Mayor addresses Green Workplace Challenge conference

Mayor William Peduto was the keynote speaker at a conference this morning organized by the Green Workplace Challenge, a program of Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Champions for Sustainability. The subject matter was "The Water-Energy Nexus: Conservation, Innovative Technologies and Practical Solutions."

Excerpts of the Mayor's remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

"Water deļ¬nes our city; It is our history and future. It is essential; powerful; precious; and cannot be taken for granted.

I am working with federal partners on issues as massive as bringing green elements to an EPA consent decree, to regional efforts focusing on governance, waste-water and storm-water treatment; builds our capacity to invest in green infrastructure; and supports the foundation of the local water economy.

In Pittsburgh we’re looking at like creating a stormwater utility and developing a strategic infrastructure investment plan that covers all our waterways, roads and transit as one. That means Encouraging Regional & Watershed Based Planning that addresses activities strategically across watersheds; Developing Strategic Investment Approach that considers data and the mitigation of vulnerable locations into to infrastructure investment decisions: Encouraging a new urban agenda that integrates activities related to climate change, green infrastructure investment and risk mitigation and; modernizing codes and ordinances that will allow for the advancement of world class sustainable development.

Through all of this our focus needs to be on the future: I am an outspoken advocate of Pittsburgh’s ability to become a leader of green initiatives and infrastructure in dealing with stormwater overflow and related issues -- and we need to get this right because what we decide today will shape our future for the next 100 years.

The vision I have to implement these changes includes creating park systems that can store our water so that we will be able to improve their neighborhoods, while at the same time addressing our problem of stormwater overflows.

Neighborhoods in flat areas like Larimer, Homewood, Lawrenceville, Manchester, and Hazelwood may be ideal locations to create green areas where the water is held. From there, we can start to develop around parks in communities that have never seen them. We can develop housing around these parks because housing is worth more when it’s around something that’s green. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to create canals and waterways to help spur redevelopment in old industrial areas.

There are three benefits to this: number one, it’s a green solution that enables future development to occur in these areas, number two, it will improve the triple bottom line: financial, environmental and social; and number three, it simply costs less to daylight storm runoff than to build expensive pipes to bury it underground.

We have more neighborhood-based water projects in the pipeline: ongoing design work on improving the Saw Mill Run watershed; restoring Heth’s Run; Project 15206; the Allegheny River Green Boulevard; and Nine Mile Run restoration.

Saw Mill Run exemplifies the challenges of our old city and how we’re using new methods -- including community input and governmental cooperation -- to tackle them. 

Hillside subsidence, mine subsidence, and flash flooding are the three greatest hazards facing homeowners in my region, and communities among this ancient byway have both. And floods, of course, don’t care about municipal borders. So my administration has been working with neighborhood members and government officials from inside Pittsburgh and out to work together on an integrated watershed management plan that I’m proud to say just won a grant last week from the American Architectural Foundation for further planning.

We need to help other homeowners too: My administration is committed to modernizing all kinds of ordinances and policies, including those covering water usage; and creating a storm water guide for property owners

We also need to address water usage by one of Pittsburgh’s biggest property owners -- city government. That means installing water metering and facility upgrades, performing risk and mitigation planning, and doing employee education.

Through all these efforts, and using green infrastructure, we will manage stormwater, protect Pittsburgh’s drinking water and protect our ever-improving quality of life.  The same waterways that brought Pittsburgh’s first settlers, wooed the steelmakers who brought my family and so many others here, is now poised to help make the city a world leader once again."



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