HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- PENNVEST and the City of Lancaster have finalized an agreement allowing for the investment of $7 million to finance green infrastructure projects at sites throughout the city.
"We are proud to be part of Lancaster's effort to reduce storm water run-off with these innovative approaches that will save the city a considerable amount of money. We look forward to working with other communities across the Commonwealth to achieve similar results," said Paul Marchetti, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority otherwise known as PENNVEST.
Like many older cities, the City of Lancaster has a combined sewer system that conveys household sewage and storm water runoff to the City's Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. During heavy wet weather events, combined sewage flows exceed the plant's capacity. This causes overflows of untreated combined sewage to discharge directly into the Conestoga River. Eventually, this polluted water ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. Combined sewer overflows significantly degrade the downstream water quality throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. An average of one billion gallons of combined sewage is discharged to the Conestoga River each year.
Lancaster is undertaking a series of green infrastructure improvements throughout the city. These Green Investments will collect storm water runoff and prevent or delay it from entering the combined sewer system. The projects will be constructed on public and private property.
"The projects will include porous pavement in parking lots, paths, alleys, and streets; infiltration and bio retention systems; green roofs; rain gardens; and rain barrels. Overall the projects will capture storm water runoff from a total of 951,000 square feet of impervious drainage area within the combined sewer district," said Charlotte Katzenmoyer, Director of Public Works for Lancaster.
PENNVEST funds roughly $300 million per year in infrastructure improvements. The funding comes from a combination of state funds approved by voters, federal grants to PENNVEST from the Environmental Protection Agency and recycled loan repayments from previous PENNVEST funding awards. Funds for the projects are disbursed after bills for work are paid and receipts are submitted to PENNVEST. Projects are ranked based on criteria that include among other things, impact on public health, water quality and economic development.
For more information, visit www.pennvest.state.pa.us or call 717-783-6798.