The temperature in the parking lot was still in the low nineties, but in the basement of the Operating Engineers Local 95 union building on Saline Street 175 people coolly celebrated the official launching of the Clean River Campaign. Chaired by Chris Moore (WQED, KDKA), the event opened with IUOE business manager Bill Cagney describing how the new permeable sidewalks complement the solar panels on the union building rooftop. Brenda Smith (Nine Mile Run Watershed Association) then explained the campaign goal of providing a ‘green’ alternative to ALCOSAN’s ‘grey’ solution to keep raw sewage out of our rivers.
The ‘green’ approach, and the value of clean rivers to the health and economic vitality of Pittsburgh, were extolled by City Council members Corey O’Connor, Natalia Rudiak, and Bill Peduto, as well as County Council President Charles Martoni and County Councilwomen Amanda Green Hawkins and Barbara Daly Danko. Representatives were also on hand from ALCOSAN and the County Executive’s office. Giving voice to citizen’s hopes and concerns were representatives from Action United, Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, Pittsburgh Rowing Club, and Pittsburgh United. Finally, attendees completed postcards that invited the EPA to come to Pittsburgh and work with municipal and community leaders as well as ratepayers and ALCOSAN to prioritize green solutions. In all, a solid start to an important campaign, with thanks to Clean Rivers Campaign volunteers and partner groups – Action United, Clean Water Action, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, PIIN, Pittsburgh United and the Sierra Club – for a job well done!