Green Solutions

There are a wide variety of green infrastructure solutions that could be implemented in Pittsburgh to help with our wet weather problems. No one solution alone will fix the problem; rather, a combination of green solutions need to be implemented on a large scale in conjunction with grey infrastructure improvements to make a difference.

Listed below are some short descriptions of some of the green solutions the Clean Rivers Campaign would like to see implemented in Pittsburgh.

For more information about green infrastructure practices and implementation, please visit our Publications and Other Green Cities pages.

  Stormwater planters are specialized vegetated planter boxes installed along sidewalks that are designed to manage runoff. Water enters the planter through a curbcut or other inlet at street level, and excess volume beyond the capacity of the planter is directed to an overflow pipe to prevent flooding.
A green roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproof membrane. Green roofs absorb precipitation, help to lower urban air temperatures, and can reduce the energy costs of the building on which they are installed.
Permeable pavement refers to a range of materials and techniques for paving that allows the movement of water through the paved surface. Permeable pavement controls stormwater at the source by filtering and infiltrating precipitation, which reduces runoff.
Trees reduce stormwater runoff by capturing, filtering, and storing water, promoting infiltration, and releasing water back into the air via evapotranspiration. Trees also improve air quality, reduce summer air temperatures, reduce heating and cooling costs, increase property values, and provide recreation and aesthetic value.
A rain garden is a planted depression that captures stormwater, filters it, and allows it to soak into the ground. Rain gardens help keep stormwater out of the sewer system, and can be designed for specific soils and climates.
A rain barrel is a container used to collect and store rainwater, typically from rooftops via gutters and downspouts. Rain barrels store water that otherwise would’ve entered the sewer system or local waterways for future use on site, and can help reduce water and sewer bills.
conservation areas Conservation areas in rural, suburban or urban areas can help absorb stormwater runoff by keeping the land in its natural state. In some cases, they can also be engineered like a rain garden or bioswale to capture even more stormwater.
Bioswales are landscape elements, commonly built around parking lots, that are designed to absorb and filter stormwater. Bioswales are designed to maximize the amount of time water spends in the swale, which allows more water to be filtered and infiltrate into the ground.