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Shelley Road – Green Infrastructure

The City of Lancaster continues to implement its progressive 2011 Green Infrastructure Plan – essentially an early roadmap intended to guide stormwater management improvements and environmental initiatives which result in more livable, sustainable neighborhoods.  Such neighborhoods extend from the original four square-mile city core to the farthest boundaries with suburban municipalities.  Regardless of neighborhood location, a common goal throughout Lancaster City is to reduce nutrient discharges within its Chesapeake Bay watershed.  After identifying Shelley Road, a flood-prone street in the City’s southeast annex, as a key green infrastructure focus, the City partnered with RGS Associates to create a stormwater solution which demonstrates Best Management Practices and meets critical nutrient reduction goals.

Shelley Road’s persistent flooding had overwhelmed this street’s aging storm drain infrastructure, led to pressurized flow, and eroded its discharge channel to an unnamed Conestoga River tributary. In addition to addressing these technical challenges, the City and RGS focused upon thoughtful green infrastructure integration to enhance both regional water quality and local neighborhood aesthetics.

This successfully implemented design incorporates micro bio-retention areas, permeable pavers within on-street parking spaces, an underground storage reservoir, and a regenerative step pool conveyance system.  Combined, these recent site improvements provide peak stormwater rate attenuation, volume control, water pollutantremoval, and low-energy, non-erosive conveyance to the unnamed tributary.

Click here to read the article in Stormwater Solutions Magazine

Project Challenges

As with many retrofit projects, the incorporation of Shelley Road’s green infrastructure improvements proved to be challenging, given constrained work areas within the existing street right-of-way and an adjoining storm easement containing conventional piping sandwiched between two residential properties.  Private property disturbance and potential loss of on-street parking spaces were of great concern to local residents, but the design team carefully listened to their concerns expressed during several public meetings, and then effectively balanced these concerns with the City’s stormwater goals.

In addition, this low-lying public street has a large, unmanaged, upland drainage area comprised of existing homes, driveways, and lawns.  Aging conventional infrastructure lacked the ability to effectively collect and convey stormwater runoff from these areas to the local river tributary in a stable manner. Its existing discharge point was located more than six feet higher than this tributary which, combined with the high runoff velocities, lead to an extremely eroded drainage channel and frequent sedimentation of the waterway. Stormwater runoff capture, conveyance, treatment, and discharge were identified as key components to this project’s technical design.

To successfully address these challenges, RGS incorporated a series of Best Management Practices.  Newly vegetated bio-retention areas, permeable pavers with an on-street parking lane, and an underground storage reservoir now capture upland runoff and provide the added benefits of water quality treatment and volume control. Likewise, the regenerative conveyance system incorporates a series of stepped bio-retention plunge pools and stone riffles which reduce the energy of the stormwater discharge to a non-erosive condition as it enters the Conestoga River tributary. Collectively, these stormwater solutions provide both aesthetic and functional outcomes to a complex engineering challenge.

The Shelley Road Green Infrastructure Project was awarded a 2019 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.

Project Year: 
Contractor: Rogele Inc.
Designers: RGS Associates Inc.
Solution Providers: Advanced Drainage Systems, Laurel Valley Soils, East Coast Erosion Control, Monarch Precast, Pavedrain, Filtrexx
Owner: City of Lancaster, Pa.
Location: Lancaster, Pa.
Cost: $253,000
Size: 2,052,228 gal per year

Stormwater Pollution and Solution

 The stormwater pollution problem has no boundaries, and neither can the solution.

Let's be #StormwaterSmartPA! We all can help protect Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers from stormwater runoff pollution: 💦💦💦

Posted by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Monday, September 25, 2017



New Website – Lancaster Tree Tenders

The Lancaster Tree Tenders are excited to share our newly launched website.  Our goal is to increase and enhance Lancaster’s urban forest by engaging and empowering neighborhoods to plant and care for trees. A collaborative effort, Lancaster Tree Tenders is an initiative of the City of Lancaster, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and Lancaster City Alliance.

Please visit our new site to learn about trees and register for our newsletter so you can keep up on upcoming events, plantings, and volunteer days.


Lancaster City – Manheim Township Study


Lancaster, August 17 – The City of Lancaster, in partnership with Manheim Township, has hired C.S.Davdison, Inc. to prepare a study to assess the feasibility of area-wide disconnection of public stormwater facilities from public sanitary sewer facilities in and around the area known as Grandview Heights. The study area includes portions of Manheim Township, Lancaster City, and Amtrak right-of way, highlighted in pink, yellow, and green, respectively, in Figure 1 below.
To view PDF’s click here




















Stormwater Guide


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Homeowners Guide to Stormwater BMP Maintenance Booklet – BCW has been working with Penn State to finalize a Homeowners Guide to Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) Maintenance Booklet funded by an EPA Chesapeake Bay Grant. This booklet aims to provide homeowners … Continue reading


Help Fund Our Urban Canopy

NEWS FOR RELEASE – March 20th, 2017

New Community Tree Partnership Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Plant City Trees

A new partnership has sprouted up with the goal of planting more trees in Lancaster City and engaging residents in the process. A collaborative effort, Lancaster Tree Tenders is an initiative of the Lancaster County Conservancy Urban Greening program with partners Lancaster City Alliance and the City of Lancaster. Their purpose is “To increase and enhance Lancaster’s urban forest by engaging and empowering neighborhoods to plant and care for trees”. Together, they are working to increase Lancaster City’s tree canopy cover from 28% to 40% within twenty-five years; this goal is part of the City’s Green Infrastructure Plan to help manage stormwater and create a more sustainable community.

“Have you ever planted a tree before?” asks the newly formed Lancaster Tree Tenders. And to that they respond, “We have!” In the last 18 months, the Lancaster Tree Tenders have helped plant 100 street trees and 350 saplings, identified over 500 planting locations, and mailed 1,000 letters offering free trees. In the process, they have engaged hundreds of volunteers who have received training and hands-on experience with planting trees. All of this work is being accomplished in close partnership with the City Stormwater Bureau and the City Arborist, Jim Bower.

It’s no secret that urban trees provide a multitude of benefits for people, the environment, and even businesses. Trees help reduce stormwater pollution, save on energy by reducing cooling costs, reduce air pollution, increase biodiversity, and beautify neighborhoods. The group also points to studies that have shown trees increase pedestrian traffic in shopping areas, reduce crime, and help instill a sense of community pride.

They encourage people to support their mission by donating to their crowdfunding campaign kicking off the first day of spring, March 20th. Go to to find out how to donate and get involved. Another way to get involved is by coming to “A Night of Short Films” about the importance of trees around the world. Check out the event here.

They encourage other kinds of involvement too, such as sharing their information via social media, personally inviting friends to donate, joining one of their planting events, and planting a tree. Each contribution insures that more trees get planted in the City of Lancaster.

To Donate Click here !



Local Leaders, News

Lancaster wins National Environmental Achievement Award

Congratulations to the City of Lancaster, PA Government and especially the Director of Public Works, Charlotte Katzenmoyer!! The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) recognized the City with a National Environmental Achievement Award in Tampa, Florida. The City continues to be an award winning leader in the field of stormwater management.

Check out all of the city’s green infrastructure projects and initiatives here!