Environment Erie

Storm Water Management

Storm water runoff is a problem that every community faces. After a strong rain, water has no place to go except down a storm drain and into the nearest steam or lake. But it’s not just water that flows into our waterways. Oils and other transportation fluids, salt, sediment, fertilizers and pet waste are carried by the runoff and are polluting our watershed. But there are ways that we can help prevent this by planting rain gardens, installing rain barrels and encouraging our community officials to think green!

Environment Erie has a limited amount of funds to pilot residential stormwater cost-share program for residents living in the Walnut Creek Watershed (zip codes within the watershed: 16505-western side, 16506, 16509, 16441, 16415)

This link will take you to a detailed map to see if you are within the Walnut Creek Watershed

Eligible residents may receive funds for Green Infrastructure such as rain gardens, bioswales, dry beds, etc. To see if you qualify please call Leann Sestak at 814-440-5992 or lsestak@environmenterie.org. Past installations may qualify (2016-present) must provided proof of payment and design plan.

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are beautiful, natural landscape features that can help reduce storm water runoff. During heavy storms rain gardens capture runoff and hold it so that is can be absorbed into the ground rather than flowing down the street and into a storm drain. Native plants, mulch and soil work together to naturally filter out and pollutants and break them down over time.

Benefits of a Rain Garden:

  • Provide habitat for wildlife and, with the proper plants, increase the number and diversity of birds and butterflies for those who enjoy watching them.
  • Provide an attractive and creative alternative to traditional lawn landscapes.
  • Require less maintenance than lawns because they do not need to be mowed, fertilized, or watered
    once established.
  • Increase property values with creative
    landscaping designs.
  • Reduce storm drain overload and
    flooding if adopted on a community or
    neighborhood scale.

Rain Barrels

Rain barrels are an easy way to manage storm water and very quickly they can make a huge impact on the amount of soil erosion after a heavy rain, as well as reduce the amount of hose or faucet water being used to water plants, wash cars, etc. How rain barrels do this is simple. After a storm, the rain barrel collects all the water that falls on the roof of your house and runs into the gutters. However, rather than that water flowing into a storm drain, stream or your yard, it will be collected by the barrel attached the downspout. Most rain barrels hold up to 55-gallons, but both larger and small barrels are available.

Fun facts:

  • Lawn and garden watering make up at least 43% of the total household water use during the summer months.
  • Rain barrels will save most home owners about 1,300 gallons of water during the summer, thus conserving fresh water and saving money.
  • For every inch of rain that falls on each square foot of
    your roof, you can collect just over half a gallon of water.

Municipal Stormwater Programming

This program was created to assist municipalities with the exploration of creating revenue streams for long term stormwater management. The way the program will work is an MOU is created between the municipality and Environment Erie. The municipality will either work in-house to develop a feasibility study for creating revenue or engage a consulting firm to complete a feasibility study. The study will include three phases:

  • Phase I: Planning
    Review current and future stormwater management needs, both physical and compliance needs. Cost estimates are then determined for meeting the immediate and long term needs. A copulation of several structures for revenue will be outlined, including pros- and cons- for each avenue of revenue generation.
  • Phase II: Rate and Administration Reports
    Development of a rate system and program structure for the type of revenue generation determined by the township as a best fit.
  • Phase III: Implement Plan
    A timeline and specific tasks for implementing the revenue stream are identified and outlined.

If a municipality is working on a process as outlined above, Environment Erie has funding that can be contributed to the projects that include the following components in the process:
• Public involvement and education throughout the process.
• Credit programs for green infrastructure.
• Meeting long term stormwater needs include the development of rain gardens, bio-infiltration, and other similar stormwater BMP’s that include water quality benefits.
• The municipality is committed to implementing a stormwater program.

What does Environment Erie provide?
• Funding reimbursement for eligible expenses up to 50% of the costs, but not to exceed $54,000.00.
• Professional services to assist throughout the process.
• Educational workshops for the municipality officials, as well as the public.
• Coordination of public involvement.