Westmoreland County Community College –
Riparian Buffer and Stormwater Management Retrofit
The Westmoreland County Community College Campus has recently had a facelift along the Sewickley Creek tributary that bisects the campus. Concerned with the amount of untreated surface runoff that flows from the four acre parking area, the Westmoreland Conservation District teamed with the Community College and the Sewickley Creek Watershed Association to develop a system to capture and treat the runoff and protect the stream channel. The project was funded by a DEP Growing Greener Program Grant awarded to the Watershed Association and was constructed in 2012.
The Before photograph shows the removal of nearly a quarter acre of asphalt along the length of the stream channel. The After photograph shows the original stream buffer widened nearly twenty-five feet to include a series of infiltration swales and riparian buffer plantings. The infiltration swales now capture the runoff from the existing parking lot before it gets to the stream channel allowing pollutants and debris to drop out and promoting infiltration of the rainwater into the ground. These measures will reduce flooding downstream and improve the health of the stream and the habitat along the stream corridor.
The project also includes a rain garden and a porous concrete walkway at one of the pedestrian bridges.
The infiltration trenches are working perfectly during the July 11, 2013 rain storm as captured by WCD Associate Board Member Larry Larese on his phone’s camera.