The Allegheny County Conservation District is an agency of State government having as its mission the conservation of the County's soil and water resources.
We accomplish this mission by implementing erosion & sediment pollution control programs, working with farmers to preserve agricultural land, and helping citizens and community groups to address water pollution issues.
District Programs and Services
Through its programs, the District serves a diverse constituency including engineering and contracting firms, farmers, municipalities and other government agencies, watershed associations, school groups, community organizations, and the public at large.
Erosion & Sediment Pollution Control (E&SPC) Program
Under the terms of agreements with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the District administers Chapters 92 and 102 of the Clean Streams Law, which were established to prevent pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth by sediment runoff from construction sites. E&SPC plans must be prepared for all earthmoving projects in the County, regardless of size, and must be available at the project site at all times. When the total area of a project exceeds five acres, a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit is required; however, a site as small as one acre will require a permit if activities on the site cause a point source discharge to the waters of the Commonwealth. The District reviews E&SPC plans and conducts regular site inspections to assure that E&SPC measures provided for in the plan are in place and are functioning properly.
Mine Drainage Pollution Abatement
The District works with the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation to develop projects which reduce or eliminate stream pollution caused by discharges from abandoned mines. DEP and other agencies provide technical and administrative assistance during design and construction of these projects.
Twice a year, usually in March and November, the District sponsors E&SPC seminars for engineers, developers, contractors and other members of the regulated community. The seminars focus on the principles and practices of effective erosion and sediment pollution control on earthmoving projects.
Each year in late April, the District conducts its Envirothon, a program in which teams of high school students compete in a series of events to test their knowledge of current environmental issues. The Envirothon is open to high schools throughout AlleghenyCounty.
Clean Water Fund
Using a portion of penalty monies assessed against violators of the Clean Streams Law, the District funds projects proposed by non-profit organizations to remedy erosion problems, reduce sedimentation of local waterways, and otherwise promote the concept of clean water. Financial support is made available to NPOs based on project merit and availability of funds.
Agricultural Conservation Program
The District operates programs in Allegheny and Beaver Counties to assist farmers in complying with the provisions of Pennsylvania's Nutrient Management Act, which mandates measures to control pollution from animal wastes. An agricultural conservation technician is available to County livestock farmers upon request. The technician can also help farmers to prepare conservation plans and management-intensive grazing plans which benefit farm operations and the environment as well.
Agricultural Land Preservation Program
In this program, State funds are used to protect farmland through the purchase of agricultural conservation easements which reserve use of the land for agricultural production. The District provides administrative support to the five-member Allegheny County Agricultural Land Preservation Board by processing applications, working with appraisers and other vendors, and coordinating efforts with foundations and community groups.