The common downspout—which carries rainwater from gutter to ground—along with pipes, ponds, drains, bridges and other features, make up the widespread infrastructure every community needs to give the rain somewhere to go.
The goal is to direct all stormwater (another name for rainwater) into streams, creeks and rivers so the rainwater reenters the natural cycle, all the while aiming to minimize flooding and protect water quality.
In 2015, AMEC Foster Wheeler of Carnegie completed a study of the township’s stormwater management system to determine exactly what we have, what we need, and what we should do to update our infrastructure. South Fayette Township staff members are using the study results to help make decisions about planning and budgeting for annual repairs and system improvements.
Only Rain in the Storm Drain
Types of Sewers
Two separate types of sewer systems exist for different types of water:
Sanitary Sewers. Dirty household water from sinks, toilets, washing machines and so forth is directed into the sanitary sewer and destined for a treatment plant.
Storm Sewers. Outdoor storm drains (also known as inlets or catch basins) are designed to catch rainfall or snowmelt and direct it back into creeks, rivers and other bodies of water. Stormwater is not treated before returning to natural waterways.
Household Habits for Clean Water
To help keep the local watershed clean, everybody can take steps to ensure only rain enters the storm drains. Here are some healthy household habits for clean water:
- Pick up and flush pet waste.
- Wash vehicles in a commercial car wash, or on your lawn.
- Clean paint brushes in a sink, not outdoors.
- Allow chlorine levels to dissipate before draining your swimming pool.
- Clean up spilled auto fluid with sand or kitty litter. Don’t dump down storm drain.
- Bag, compost or recycle grass clippings and yard waste. Don’t wash down storm drain.
- Don’t block storm drain openings or grates.
- Use eco-friendly pesticides and fertilizers if necessary, and use them sparingly. Avoid applying if the forecast calls for rain.
- Take automotive fluids, household cleaners, pesticides, paints and other household chemicals to periodic regional collection events.
Stormwater & Flood Resources
- When It Rains, It Drains Brochure
- Homeowner's Guide to Stormwater
- Creating Your Rain Garden
- Clean Water is Everybody's Business Brochure
- Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
- Chartiers Valley District Flood Control Authority
- 3 Rivers Wet Weather
- Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission Water Resource Center
- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4)
- US Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District
South Fayette Township Resources
Thanks to everyone who joined us for the free program at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden in 2015. Participants had the opportunity to learn about rain gardens, rain barrels, where rain drains, and more, thanks to South Fayette’s partnership with ASSET STEM Education and fellow municipalities North Fayette, Findlay, Collier and Moon.