Sustainability - Borough of Etna

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The Borough of Etna has pledged and undertaken efforts to be a Sustainable Community. Through its ongoing commitment to implementing programs and developing strategies to foster environmental stewardship, community economic opportunity, health, and resilience, Etna has earned a Gold designation from Sustainable Pennsylvania.

In an effort to become a more sustainable community, the Borough has adopted several ordinances that help protect our environment.

Ordinance No. 1341
– allows for the disconnection of roof drains/gutters from residential properties to help reduce the storm water carried in our combined (sanitary and storm water) sewer system. This helps minimize the amount of storm water in the system which takes up capacity in the system and reduces sewage treatment costs at the treatment plant (ALCOSAN). Click here for the Permit Application.

Ordinance No. 1345
- provides regulations for the installation of solar devices for homes owners. It streamlines the process to make it easier for installation for both the home owner and the installer. Click here for the Permit Application.

The Borough, through grant funding provided by Allegheny County, has installed water saving devices including low flow toilets at the Municipal Complex on Butler Street. In addition, all lighting fixtures at the complex have been replaced with energy efficient fixtures. Light switch plates have been replaced and are now motion activated and go off on their own, preventing lights being left on in rooms that are empty

The Borough has installed rain barrels at our recreational facilities which enable our Garden Club to water the numerous public flower beds using rain water from the barrels. These barrels are located at Dougherty Veterans Fields, the Clarence Fugh Memorial Park and Playground and at the storage facility at the Butler Street Public Parking Lot.

Sustainability Corner

Summer is right around the corner and we are all thinking about our summer planting plans!  Here are some tips to help make those plans more environmentally friendly!   Keep your lawn areas thick and healthy and don’t cut too close to the ground.  Mulch your flower beds to hold that water.  You can install grass alternatives like ground cover, plants, shrubs, trees and perennials to decrease stormwater runoff and pollutants, like fertilizer and herbicides, especially in areas with highly erodible soils and steep slopes.  If you must fertilize, use slow release fertilizers or better yet, till some compost into your lawn.  Looking for guidance on plants?   We have informational sheets from the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania that could help.  There are sheets on Establishing a Native Meadow; Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden and  Deer Resistant Plants in the lobby of the municipal building.  Remember, never fertilize before a rainstorm as the stormwater will carry those pollutants into our storm drains and then into our waterways!   

Garden Of Etna

The Borough through funding from the Allegheny County Health Department has partnered with the Garden of Etna to transform a vacant lot owned by the Borough on Elk Way and Locust Street into a vibrant and productive neighborhood vegetable garden. The garden currently has sixteen residential beds which people can sign up for at no cost to them. The garden also has four large 4’ x 20’ beds dedicated to the two food banks located in our community, the Bread of Life Food Pantry and the All Saints Food Pantry. Last year, the Garden provided over 550 pounds of food to these two food banks. This summer, the group was successful in acquiring berry plants from a grant from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and beds were installed and now the food banks will receive these delicious berries in addition to the home grown delicious vegetables. The Garden annually partners with the Shaler Area School District students, who grow “winter crops” (lettuce, green beans, etc.) from seeds at their greenhouse and plant them in our garden. These vegetables are also provided to the food banks in early spring. The Garden boasts a rain barrel on their storage shed as well as a composter. The Garden is now a lovely, lively spot, where once only weeds grew, now friendship, food and community pride grow!


Protecting Bees in Your Garden

There has been a lot of publicity lately about the use of pesticides in your gardens which is affecting our honey bee population. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon in which worker honey bees from a hive or bee colony abruptly disappear. CCD first appeared in the US in 2006 and has progressively worsened. Ortho and Bayer Crop Science, two of the leading users of these chemicals, say they will stop using these chemicals by 2021 but is that too long to wait? If you can avoid using neonicotinoids in your lawns and gardens now, think how many bee colonies you may be able to save. Read your labels: look out for imidacloprid, acetamiprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam.

When purchasing plants, ask nursery or garden center staff whether they were treated with neonicotinoids.

Sometimes, there is actually one of those little plastic tags in the plants telling you this. Bees are exposed to neonicotinoids in many ways, including contact with spray residue on plants or by eating contaminated pollen or nectar. Even when used carefully, according to printed label instructions, bees can be exposed to lethal doses of these pesticides. When exposed to very small amounts of neonicotinoids, bumble bee colonies grow more slowly and produce fewer queens. Slight honey bee exposure can impair their ability to fly, navigate and forage for food. There is a direct correlation between humans and bees. Bees pollinate our crops so that we have food!!! The choice is up to you!
Learn more at


Etna Borough Converts Duquesne Light Street Lighting To LED

Through the Duquesne Light LED Municipal Cobrahead Street Lighting Conversion Pilot Program, the Borough has been able to convert an additional 52 fixtures from 150 WATT High Pressure Sodium to the equivalent of 106 WATT LED fixtures.

This was a Pilot Program instituted by Duquesne Light which was approved by the PA Public Utility Commission.  The energy efficient LED Cobrahead Street Light will be added to the Municipal Light Rate (Tariff SM) and all facilities will continue to be installed, maintained and owned by the Duquesne Light Co.  Each new lamp head will save the community approximately $24.00 per lamp, per year, an annual savings of $960.00. In less than 5 years, we will have recouped our investment and going forward from that point, it will total cost savings to the Borough.

This initiative is a direct result of work of CONNECT, which is an organization that Etna belongs to made up of the City of Pittsburgh and the communities that surround the City.  CONNECT has been working with PennFuture and Duquesne Light for over a year on this initiative.   This is a win-win program for all involved.  The initial swap-out was for 10 lamp heads per community, but as the program proceeded, communities were able to add more.  The new LED lamp heads begin when entering Etna off of Route 28 near Ann Street and run all the way through the main business district to the Kittanning Street and Route 8 intersection.  They also go down both Bridge and Freeport Streets to the railroad crossing near Sharpsburg Borough.  With all the new LED Decorative Street Lighting that is replacing the old decorative lighting in the central business district, we thought we would build out from that area.

The beautiful LED decorative street lighting that is currently being installed in the central business district, replacing the old antiquated lighting from the mid 1980’s also has a CONNECT connection (no pun intended).  As a member of CONNECT Etna Borough and all the member municipalities are able to purchase off of City of Pittsburgh advertised bi contracts.  That is where and how the Borough purchased the LED lampheads that are on the new decorative street lighting.  The City of Pittsburgh had bid these and was installing them throughout the City at different locations.  The Borough was able to purchase off of their contract, at a huge cost savings, due to the high volume that the City was purchasing.  We did not purchase the same decorative poles, but choose a less expensive, but beautiful concrete base pole, which along with the installation was bid.  WOW - HOW SUSTAINABLE IS ALL OF THAT!!!!  PARTERNING WITH OUR NEIGHBORS FOR COST SAVINGS TO OR COMMUNITY!!


Urban Walking Trails

City Walking

For our walking pleasure, and to keep us all just a little more fit, and to get us out to meet our friendly neighbors, the Etna Economic Development Corporation presents a few developed Walking Loops.  All of the loops begin in the general downtown area and wander off in different directions.  They vary in distance and difficulty.  The little hearts trailing the name of the loop are an indication of the difficulty of the loop with regard to is rigor (thanks to the Etna slopes!), but distance is factored as well.  Others will follow as will directional guides and exact distances.  Watch for new loops as they become available.  Happy Trails!!


Do it For the Planet. Do it for the Savings

We’re taking big steps to make the Borough of Etna green! We’ve teamed with Waste Management and Recyclebank
to reward you for home recycling.

Recyclebank, brought to you by Waste Management, rewards you for recycling with discounts and deals from hundreds of local and national businesses. On average, members can earn up to $150 in reward value through annual recycling efforts.

Here’s how it works:

: Simply sign up at and follow the online prompts to verify your home address. You can also call 1-888-727-2978 to sign up.

: Recycle all that you can with your Waste Management recycling cart; it will be collected and weighed along with your neighborhood’s recycling. Once you’re a Recyclebank member, you’ll earn points each time you bring your cart to the curb.

In fact, there’s lot of ways you can earn Recyclebank Points:

  • Recycling in Etna

  • Referring your friends and family

  • Learning about ways to green your lifestyle

  • Entering points codes from our partners

: The more points you earn, the more rewards you can get. Go to to shop for the rewards of your choice. There’s literally something for everyone.

Sign up today for your Recyclebank account, brought to you by Waste Management.


Yes - We Can Recycle Cardboard!

Waste Management will take cardboard in Etna Borough, but it has to be cut up (no bigger than the size of a pizza box) and placed inside the recycling bin.  They will not take cardboard that is not cut to size, or left outside of the bin.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cartons

What is a carton?

Cartons are a type of packaging for food and beverage products you can purchase at the store. They are
easy to recognize and are available in two types—shelf-stable and refrigerated.

What are cartons made from?

Cartons are mainly made from paper in the form of paperboard, as well as thin layers of polyethylene
(plastic) and/or aluminum. Shelf-stable cartons contain on average 74% paper, 22% polyethylene and 4% aluminum. Refrigerated cartons contain about 80% paper and 20% polyethylene.

Are cartons recyclable?
Yes! Cartons are recyclable. In fact, the paper fiber contained in cartons is extremely valuable and useful to make new products.

Where can I recycle cartons?

To learn if your community accepts cartons for recycling, please visit or check with
your local recycling program.

How do I recycle cartons?

Simply place the cartons in your recycle bin. If your recycling program collects materials as “singlestream,”
you may place your cartons in your bin with all the other recyclables. If your recycling program collects materials as “dual-stream” (paper items together and plastic, metal and glass together), please place cartons with your plastic, metal and glass containers.

Wait, you just said cartons are made mainly from paper. Don’t I want to put them with other paper recyclables?

Good question. The answer is no. Once cartons arrive at your local recycling facility, they will be sorted
separately from the rest of the materials. To make this work at the facility, it is easier to modify how containers are sorted than paper. In the end, as long as all cartons are sorted and baled together, the material will then be recycled.


Below are links to event information for the Hard to Recycle and Household Chemical collections offered in partnership with the Pennsylvania Resources Council.


Rain Garden Design and Management Technical Workshop

The Borough of Etna, through its partnership with the Sustainable Lands Program, and a grant from the League of Women Voters, Water Resource Education Network, hosted a technical workshop for the design and management of a rain garden on September 7, 2013.  As part of that program, an actual hands- on approach was taken for the second half of the workshop and a beautiful, sustainable rain garden was installed at the Clarence Fugh Memorial Park and Swimming Pool Facility on Pine Street.  The Borough provided the monetary match and the site location for the rain garden.  The entire program was videotaped, courtesy of Shaler School District and will be posted on several educational and environmental websites.  Instructors included Sandy Feather, Penn State University Extension, Sara Madden, Stormworks, Barton Kirk, Seeds and Roxanne Swann, Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.  

About 40 landscape contractors, landscape architects, students and interested parties attended the one day session held form 9 am to 3 pm in the Municipal Building.  The event organizers included Allegheny County, Allegheny County Conservation District, Audubon Society of Western Pa., the City of Pittsburgh, the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 3 Rivers Wet Weather, the Penn State Center, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association/Stormworks, Penn State Extension,  Seeds and the Borough of Etna.   

The agenda included discussion on what a rain garden and bioswale is; how to site these facilities; how to size, design and cost these facilities and the necessary installation methods.  Experts spoke of the appropriate plants for these installations and how to address maintenance of rain gardens.  The afternoon session was an on-site rain garden installation at the Borough’s Swimming Pool Bathhouse.  Two rain gutters were disconnected from the combined sewer system and incorporated into the garden installation.  The rain garden is approximately 180 square feet and is receiving runoff from a roof area of 470 square feet and is designed for a 1 ½ inch rainfall (storm).  Removing storm water from our combined sewer system is something we are dedicated to in our community to help address localized flooding, cut down on sewer overflows to our creeks and rivers and to help reduce the cost of sewage treatment.  While this is one small project, it demonstrates the Borough’s commitment to Stormwater Management within our own community.  If you are interested in addressing stormwater at your own home or business property, contact the Borough Manager at 412-781-0569.  

Below are just some of the pictures of the workshop.  The site is beautiful and functions wonderfully – as was evidenced by the heavy downpours just a few days after installation.  Watch for the video of the entire program which will be posted on this website as well as other websites. T
he rain garden at the pool is registered on the Rain Garden Alliance website -


Completed in July, the green rehabilitation of the School Street Public Parking Lot 11 uses new technology, a unique stormwater best management practice (BMP) that consists of a 20-square-foot high-rate biofiltration system that directs the infiltrated water into a 1,060-cubic-foot stormwater management storage unit. The facility receives runoff from over an acre of contributing area and is projected to capture approximately 540,000 gallons of stormwater annually from the borough’s combined sewer system. This project was developed with funding assistance from the Richard King Mellon Foundation through 3 Rivers Wet Weather to show the value of adding green stormwater features as part of the reconstruction of the parking lot at a more affordable cost.


The Municipal Building, which houses, Administration, Police and Fire Services, underwent a energy audit and all light fixtures were outfitted with energy efficient fixtures.  All toilets and sinks were also retrofitted with low flow devices.

Through a partnership with the Dept. of Transportation, many of the traffic lights in the main business district have been fitted with LED light bulbs.


Etna Green Infrastructure Project Descriptions

Etna Green Streetscape Phase 1:
 Phase 1 of the project is completed- supported by PADEP Growing Greener and US EPA Section 319 Grants with a match by the Borough of Etna.

Acreage Managed: 0.598
Impervious Acreage Managed: 0.470
GSI Management Strategy: Filter/Infiltrate/Remove
Runoff Managed: 0.64 MG/yr (640,000 gal/yr)

This first phase involved reconstruction of the east side of Butler Street between Bridge and Freeport Streets as well as the reconstruction of the north side of Freeport Street between Butler Street and Union Alley. This phase involved installation of 12 street trees, 2300 cubic feet of underground storage that promotes infiltration, 3900 square feet of pervious pavers, downspout disconnection and restatement to new conveyances and related work. Storm water management is essential to water quality in our streams, creeks and rivers. It can also have a dramatic effect on drinking water quality as it reduces pollutants in ground water. As rain water travels over paved surfaces it picks up grit and debris including salt and other pollutants and deposits them into the combined system or into the ground. Collecting this rain water at its source helps to eliminate this from happening.

The project entailed other improvements and traffic calming/safety features: 562 feet of realigned curbing to create bump-outs, 4776 square feet of new concrete sidewalk, 403 feet of 12” wide decorative, ADA compliant grate and trench, tree grates, four new curb ramps and two new inlets to accommodate parking area drainage.

Cost: $475,000 including engineering (Actual to date)

Etna Green Streetscape Phase 2:
The design of the Phase 2 has been completed; supported by PADEP Growing Greener and US EPA Section 319 Grants. Construction is pending receipt of funding.

Acreage Managed:  0.621
Impervious Acreage Managed: 0.425
GSI Management Strategy: Filter/Infiltrate/Remove
Runoff Managed: 0.50 MG/yr  (500,000 gal/yr)

This second phase involved reconstruction of the south side of Butler Street between Winschel and Freeport Streets as well as the reconstruction of the south side of Freeport Street between Butler Street and Cherry Alley. This phase involved installation of planting areas with 9 street trees, 2400 cubic feet of underground storage in two locations that promote infiltration, 1800 square feet of pervious pavers in Love Alley, a “Rain Park” at 14 Freeport Street, downspout disconnections and restatement to new conveyances and related work. Phase 2 also included planting areas adjacent to the municipal parking lot on Winschel Street.

The project entailed other improvements and traffic calming/safety features: 554 feet of realigned curbing to create bump-outs, 6280 square feet of new concrete sidewalk, 660 feet of 12”-wide decorative,  ADA compliant grate and trench, tree grates, six new curb ramps and a new inlet to accommodate parking area drainage.

Cost: $571,550, including engineering and contingency (Estimate)

Freeport Street Rain Park
is designed to manage runoff from the sidewalk and roofs along Freeport Street representing a total tributary area of approximately 9,300 Sq. ft . Of this total area approximately 7,300 Sq. ft. is impervious surface. The rain park itself is approximately 1,900 Sq. ft. in area with perennial plantings.  It uses a high rate proprietary infiltration media to treat and retain entrained solids in collected/conveyed runoff in advance of storage. The facility has 842 cf of subsurface storage and is designed to infiltrate the runoff from a 1.25” rainfall event over a 72 hour period. The facility has an overflow pipe that directs excessive RO volume to a nearby catch basin on the corner of Cherry Alley and Freeport Street.

The amount of annual RO removal by the Rain Park is estimated at 150,000 gals in a typical year.   This translates into approximately 70 lbs. of Total Suspended Solids, 0.2 lb. of Total Phosphorus and 0.4 of Total Nitrogen per year.   It is expected that the long term facility performance will be monitored following completion.

Etna School Street Parking Lot Green Infrastructure Project:

Acreage Managed: 1.114
Impervious Acreage Managed: 0.359
GSI Management Strategy: Filter/Infiltrate/Remove
Runoff Managed: 0.54 MG/yr  (540,000 gal/yr)

This Green Infrastructure design and construction project is a proof-of-concept demonstration on the use of a proprietary high rate filtration technology sited to utilize the Quaternary sands and gravels formation.  It involved the retrofit installation of Green Infrastructure- runoff collection, 200 SF proprietary high rate bio-filtration, 1060 CF subsurface stormwater management storage units with infiltration, plantings- during the resurfacing of the existing 4200 square foot municipal parking lot.  Half of adjacent School Street was reshaped and repaved to ensure that runoff is directed to the GSI facility. The project will provide partial capture (approx.  0. 54 MG of estimated 1.5 mg runoff contributed annually by this catchment to the Etna Combined Sewer System.  The facility screening identified a high yield inlet via the Etna GIS where GSI could be most advantageously sited. The project was funded by a combination of Borough funds and a 3Rivers Wet Weather Grant.

Full capture from the catchment under the 90/10 target would involve installation of an additional 4500 CF GSI facility in the Walnut Street ROW. The estimated cost for this additional GSI facility would be $190,000. The estimated cost is $ 0.22 per managed gallon.

Cost: $ 74,000 including engineering (Actual to date)


Wheels For Wishes

Wheels For Wishes
is a car donation program benefiting Make-A-Wish® Pennsylvania and West Virginia. We are proud to offer an easy way to recycle or donate unwanted cars, trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, RVs, or even boats, by turning them into a wish for a local child.

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