Not many towns can brag about the beauty of their wastewater treatment plant. But, Monessen, Pennsylvania, will be able to upon completion of its facility in 2016.
As part of a state regulation to decrease stormwater runoff, the Mon Valley Sewage Authority’s combined sewer overflow treatment facility will feature a rain garden.
Positioned along the perimeter of the 3-acre treatment facility site, the rain garden will be home to native vegetation and flowers whose job is to soak up rainwater and runoff, resulting in less stormwater finding its way into drains and ultimately into area streams and creeks.
Runoff comes into contact with many chemicals before it arrives at a storm drain – lawn fertilizer, pesticides, oil, salt – all of which pose a serious threat to freshwater. Additionally, stormwater runoff is warmer than water in streams and creeks. When the warmer water enters the colder water, decreased oxygenation occurs, harming fish and plant life.
The Mon Valley Sewage Authority’s rain garden not only eases the strain on sewer systems but also provides a habitat for wildlife and reduces lawn and property maintenance costs. The area does not need to be mowed, fertilized, or watered once established. Plus, it gives style and cohesion to the grounds and demonstrates the authority’s commitment to protecting public health and the environment.
We’re happy to do our part to improve our community and environment, and we hope this inspires other municipal authorities to do what they can to mitigate the impacts of stormwater runoff. The proposed landscaping and rain gardens will not only improve water quality but will have a positive impact on the appearance of the waterfront in the City of Monessen.
Tom Salak, general manager of the Mon Valley Sewage Authority