Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the city of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority, claiming redevelopment plans for the Buncher property in the Strip District do not include adequate stormwater management.
The lawsuit alleges that the city is not following its own stormwater management program nor that of the federal Environmental Protection Agency in allowing the project.
Buncher has proposed a 55-acre project involving offices, retail and housing between the Veterans Bridge and 21st Street and from Smallman Street to the Allegheny River.
According to the complaint, the Buncher Co. began construction of a new roadway near the Allegheny River between 11th and 14th streets without submitting a stormwater management site plan. After PennFuture sent a notice of intent to sue in April, the lawsuit said, such a report was filed. On May 3, and again on May 30, the city issued letters agreeing that the plan met city regulations.
PennFuture disagrees, saying the plan submitted fails to comply in a number of ways.
The city has ignored requests by PennFuture to meet to discuss the alleged deficiencies.
"They've completely ignored any runoff from public right of way," said George Jugovic, president and CEO of PennFuture. "Even in the non-road areas, they don't capture enough of the water and manage it on-site."
When stormwater runoff isn't managed properly, it can lead to flooding and, in the case of Washington Boulevard, loss of life, Mr. Jugovic said. "The whole idea of green infrastructure is to allow the water to infiltrate back into the ground."
Runoff takes pollutants into rivers and streams, and also adds into the sewage system, which results in increased cost to treat it, he said.
The complaint is brought under the federal Clean Water Act and Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law and asks that the courts require the PWSA and city to correct the violations.
Mark F. Nowak, the solicitor for PWSA, said he had not seen the complaint and could not comment.
Paula Reed Ward: email@example.com or 412-263-2620.