Mt. Lebanon’s Environmental Sustainability Board has coordinated a community project that brought a rain garden to Mt. Lebanon Park, next to the restrooms adjacent to the recreation center parking lot. The garden was made possible by a collaboration among the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, which donated expertise and labor, the municipality, which donated labor and machinery to excavate the space, and a number of businesses. Joan Gibson, a Highmark employee who is a member of Mt. Lebanon’s Environmental Team, helped secure a $500 Volunteer Grant from Highmark for the project, which cost about $3,400. The rest of the money came from cash donations from residents and from the Mt. Lebanon Earth Day Committee, in-kind donations of labor and materials. The site was chosen to incorporate a rain barrel, donated by Nine Mile Run, that collects water from the roof of the restroom.
Retaining storm water on site and allowing it to percolate into the soil directly improves water quality, prevents soil erosion and stream sedimentation, prevents flooding of roads and basements and reduces the amount of storm water treatment required. This reduces the electricity use and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with water treatment processes.
“This is a great demonstration project to further the municipality’s non-structural, storm water best management practices agenda,” says board member Kathy Hrabovsky. She hopes once word spreads about the garden in the park, it will stimulate other neighborhoods to do something similar.
“We hope to build demonstration projects throughout the community,” she says. Residents interested in learning more about the project, or who would like to contribute or volunteer, can contact Hrabovsky at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Stormworks, Nine Mile Run’s rain barrel and rain garden division, check out www.swpgh.com.