The Lead

Lt. Gov. Davis highlights $17.5M Harrisburg stormwater infrastructure project

By: - December 5, 2023 5:32 pm

Lt. Gov. Austin Davis; Capital Region Water Board Chairman J. Marc Kurowski; Tesra Schlupp, regional project specialist, PENNVEST; and Boys & Girls Club of Harrisburg Executive Director Mark Hawthorne tout stormwater projects underway in Harrisburg (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).

Lt. Gov. Austin Davis visited the Boys and Girls Club in Harrisburg Tuesday to celebrate a $17.5 million project to improve the city’s aging stormwater infrastructure and prepare the system to handle the effects of climate change. 

The project on the grounds of the facility includes porous asphalt and a storage and filtration system. It’s part of a larger stormwater infrastructure project being completed to comply with the Biden administration’s Justice40 Initiative.

“For the first time in our nation’s history, the federal government has made it a goal that 40% of the benefits of investments in climate change, clean energy and clean water infrastructure must go to communities that are marginalized, underserved, or overburdened by pollution,” said Davis, who grew up in the Monongahela Valley region. “I know what it’s like to come from a marginalized community that deals with environmental justice issues.”

Davis added that Harrisburg’s century-old stormwater infrastructure gets overloaded during severe storms, an issue that he said will continue to worsen with the effects of climate change. 

“We’re going to see many, many more severe storms in the coming years. Our children and grandchildren will be dealing with the impacts of climate change for their entire lives,” Davis said. “This individual project may seem small, but it’s part of a much larger project by the Capital Region Water system to manage stormwater and prevent sewer overflows and the Susquehanna River.”

The project is a collaboration between PENNVEST, a financial lender, and public water utility Capital Region Water. 

“Managing stormwater is one of our biggest challenges at Capital Region Water as old and aging infrastructure is often unable to convey for treatment the volume of water that collects during intense rain events,” Marc Kurowski, board chairperson at Capital Region Water, said Tuesday. “While we remain committed to implementing just and equitable projects to address the challenge, the solution requires a collaborative approach, and this site is an excellent example of that collaboration in action.”

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