Clean Rivers Campaign launched our public effort to ensure largest regional public works project in 50 years brings the most jobs and improvement to our community on as over 100 people turned out at the IBEW Hall on the South Side. Representatives from ALCOSAN presented updates on proposed controls for sewer overflows to attendees and community members listened and asked a number of thoughtful questions about how ALCOSAN is going to ensure that updates provide long-term benefits to our communities.
We have heard in previous Town Hall meetings that ALCOSAN’s plan to stop sewer overflows required by the EPA is unaffordable by the EPA’s standards and realized we need the public to come out and hear this. ALCOSAN did what was required by the Consent Decree with the EPA but we can’t afford the plan they have developed. The Clean Rivers Campaign views this as an opportunity to go back to the EPA and make sure that the final plan creates the most jobs and community improvements as possible for this biggest public investment in our lifetimes.
Green infrastructure solutions to our sewer problems can create many jobs in our communities. A recent study estimates as many as 8,600 new jobs for ten years could be created by through green infrastructure building in Philadelphia. We can expect similar job creation here in communities that desperately need such opportunities.
A big part of the Clean Rivers Campaign will be to educate the public about this project since many people in the region are unaware that we are legally required to fix the sewers. Currently ALCOSAN is proposing one path, which relies on large concrete tunnels under our rivers to store and move water from one place to another. But another possible solution is to renegotiate the consent decree to allow ALCOSAN to find solutions that use green technologies like roof gardens, trees, permeable pavement and rain gardens to capture storm water where it falls. Green solutions are better for our communities because they create more jobs and they beautify our neighborhoods.
Check out the coverage of the event:
Valley Herald: Group Pushing Green Alternatives
Tribune Review; Allegheny sewer project at estimated $6 billion