Environmental Tips and Checklist

Environmental tips are published monthly in McMail. Check them out below (and, below you will find the EAC's environmental checklist, which was published in the April 2017 Town Crier):

October 2019

For the month of October, let’s talk trash!

Nobody likes to see trash along the sides of our roads. Litter is ugly. Litter can also be dangerous, when unsecured items become litter when flying out of the backs of trucks or other vehicles. Pennsylvania has enacted laws that penalize the owners of any such vehicle observed dropping, throwing or depositing litter onto any highway or other public or private property or waterway. Littering is a summary offense, punishable by fine (maximum $300 to $900) and/or 8 to 16 hours of community trash pick-up for a first offense.

What can we do to reduce the amount of litter in our Town?

Tip #1 — Prevent trash from escaping trash bins and collection trucks. These guidelines should be followed when placing waste in carts for pickup:

  • Trash carts (black lids) — All trash should be bagged before placing in the cart, and the lid must be closed for collection.
  • Recycling carts (blue lids) — Do NOT place recycling items in plastic bags, and do not bundle or tie materials. Corrugated cardboard should be cut or torn to fit into the recycling bin (another option, particularly for large boxes, are the cardboard dumpsters located behind Town Hall; don’t forget to remove the packing materials and flatten the boxes).
  • Yard waste (green lids) — Do NOT use plastic bags. Yard waste must fit into cart with the lid closed. You can also add up to 3 paper composting bags (outside the cart) at no extra charge.

Tip #2 — Adopt a Highway. Help PennDOT to beautify roadsides two miles at a time. Visit www.penndot.gov/about-us/RoadsideBeautification/Pages/Adopt-A-Highway.as... additional information. Your Environmental Advisory Committee has done it, by adopting the McKnight Road/Ingomar Road interchange.

Tip #3 — Participate in the Town’s Roadside Cleanup, to be held Saturday, October 19th, from 10 am until noon. Volunteers will meet at Town Hall (9955 Grubbs Road) by 9:30 a.m., and should wear sturdy shoes, long sleeves and long pants. A continental breakfast will be served before trash pickup begins. If interested, please contact 412-364-0616 Ext. 118 or eac@townofmccandless.org.

Tip #4 — Keep your Town clean! If you see trash on your street, on the trail, or anywhere it shouldn’t be, pick it up and dispose of it properly — you will be making a big difference!

September 2019

In the age of smartphones, social media and lightning-fast search engines, a lot of things that once were necessities are now afterthoughts. One of these items that we now take for granted is the phone book.

Although some people still refer to the phone book, an increasing number of people prefer to seek out contact information online. And yet, the phone book still gets dropped off at your doorstep every year. That’s a lot of paper.

If delivery of the phone book annoys you, you are not the only one — the company Whitepages actually has pushed for delivery of a physical phone book to be opt-in rather than automatic.

Some people already might not be getting a printed directory. It used to be a law that phone books had to be distributed to all addresses, but that changed in Pennsylvania in 2010 when the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) reduced the requirements for the distribution of phone books. In 2017, the PUC approved a request from Verizon to halt distribution of its phone books in some areas. However, this only affects a limited area, and Verizon continues to deliver books in other areas (based on demographics).

If you would like to halt delivery of your Verizon phone book, call 1-844-339-6334. You also can opt-out of delivery of your Verizon or Consolidated Communications phone books at www.yellowpagesoptout.com.

As for books that already have been delivered and are not wanted, it’s important to remember that these become litter if they are just left outside to lay.

If you have received a phone book and are not interested in using it, be sure to recycle it. All parts of the book may be recycled in your blue-top recycling cart. However, the plastic bag that the book comes in and the magnet attached to the cover cannot be disposed of in your recycling bin — throw the magnet out in the trash and recycle the plastic bag at the disposal sites at places like Giant Eagle and Target (or you can opt to reuse both of these items).

August 2019

The Environmental Advisory Committee wants to remind you of a couple of great programs the Town has going on.

Do you have an old CRT TV and don’t intend to hook your Sega Genesis up to it anymore? Is there a long disused computer tower in your basement that has Windows 95 installed? Are you hoarding used motor oil until the end of time? Well, if you are on the Town’s contract with Waste Management, you conveniently can dispose of electronics and household hazardous waste like the aforementioned through the At Your Door HHW and E-Waste Collection program. Click here to learn more about what items are accepted through this program and how to place an order.

Did you know that mid-to-late-August through October is the best time to plant trees? Here’s a reminder about the Town’s Tree Planting Program. If you have planted a tree recently, send a message to ms4@townofmccandless.org to let us know about it (be sure to tell us your address and the number of trees you planted). The program began in March 2018 and will run for 5 years. Adding to the tree canopy in Town will help reduce stormwater runoff (it also reduces stormwater pollution because trees take up nutrients and pollutants through their root systems). The Town will tabulate the number of trees planted within this period to determine how much sediment has been removed from its stormwater. If you want to learn about the environmental and economic impact of the trees you plant, check out this link to the National Tree Benefit Calculator.

July 2019

We LOVE our fireworks on the 4th of July! However, fireworks cause extensive air pollution in a short amount of time, leaving metal particles, dangerous toxins, harmful chemicals and smoke in the air for hours and days. But the celebrations don’t have to be marred by chemicals and an ever-expanding carbon footprint! Here is what we can do to help the environment in the meantime:

Consider purchasing carbon offsets, which ensure a zero carbon impact event. Carbon offsets support clean and renewable energy projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions here.

Consider the great example that Sydney, Australia is using with their 100% neutral fireworks display.

Fireworks are not recyclable. However, proper disposal is key to prevent fires and help preserve our environment. Follow these tips:

  • Put used fireworks in a bucket of water overnight. Remove them from the water and put them in a garbage bag and into your garbage can.
  • Dump the water onto grass or dirt or other landscape where it won’t flow into a storm drain and into the river. DO NOT pour onto pavement or into the street.

Lastly, here are the current guidelines regarding the purchase of fireworks here in PA:

  • Be advised that we have 5 permitted locations within the town to sell fireworks: Duncan Manor Parking lot (this location is the only location that is selling the larger aerial fireworks), Duncan Manor Dollar Tree, both Giant Eagles (Pine Creek and McIntyre Square) and Target
  • Anyone 18 years of age or older can purchase them.
  • They cannot be ignited or discharged — on a public or private property without express permission of the property owner, from or within a motor vehicle or building, toward a motor vehicle or building, within 150 feet of an occupied structure, or while the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or another drug.        
  • Consumers can now purchase and use “Class C” or “consumer-grade” fireworks that include firecrackers, Roman Candles, bottle rockets, and similar fireworks that contain a maximum of 50 milligrams of explosive material.
  • “Display fireworks,” which are classified as including salutes that contain more than two grains or 130 milligrams of explosive materials, and professional-grade aerial shells containing more than 60 grams of pyrotechnic compositions, are still only to be used by professionals with a permit from the municipality where the display will take place

Click here to read the current version of the Fireworks Act.

June 2019

The third Thursday of June is National Dump the Pump Day. You can celebrate on June 20th by finding a way to travel that doesn’t require going to the pump. This could be walking, cycling, or using public transportation. Even trying a carpool is a great way to start exploring more fuel-efficient options!

If your daily commute takes you in and out of downtown, one convenient way to travel is by bus. McCandless has a park and ride located near the old Rave Cinemas parking lot. It is served by two PAT bus routes — 12 McKnight and O12 McKnight Flyer. The 12 McKnight runs throughout the day and makes stops at many important locations along the McKnight Road corridor. The O12 McKnight Flyer runs during rush hour only and makes fewer stops for a faster ride. Both make connections downtown so that you can easily get to just about anywhere that is served by PAT. With fares starting at $2.50/ride, it’s frequently less expensive than paying for parking downtown.

May 2019

We all know the importance of having a well-insulated home during the winter. It lowers our energy bills and keeps us comfortable. It’s the furthest thing from our mind as the weather improves, but summer is a great time of year to consider making these upgrades to your home.

Insulating your attic, exterior walls, and garage door are all very effective at keeping your house warm and cozy in the winter. They are pricey, but worthwhile investments that you will reap the benefits of for years to come. A qualified installer will be able to walk you through how these options will affect your specific home energy usage.

Weather stripping around doors, caulking around windows, and thermal curtains are effective at keeping the cold out, too, and they’re a little easier on the wallet. These are inexpensive ideas which can be done yourself, keeping the cost even lower.

All these ways of insulating for winter will also keep out the hot air and help your air conditioner run efficiently in the summer. Those thermal curtains can be used to block out the sun for the hottest parts of the day. Pulling the curtains on the southern and western-facing sides of your house until the sun has moved past those windows will make a big difference on the indoor temperature.

Also, consider planting a tree on the southern or western side of your house (make sure to report it to the Town at ms4@townofmccandless.org so it’s counted in our MS4 project). And trees slow down winter winds. Raking the leaves in the fall will be well worth the shade you enjoy in the summer, not to mention the energy savings!

April 2019

The season is changing again and it is time to get ready for warm weather and sun. As we prepare we should look at the following:

  • Service your lawn mower to decrease pollution from exhaust
  • Clean up flower beds from debris and fallen leaves
  • Have a professional air conditioning contractor inspect and maintain your system
  • Trim shrubs and plants near the air conditioning unit for proper air flow and circulation
  • Drain the sediment from your water heater, this with prolong the life of the water heater and save on the gas or electricity needed to heat the water
  • When storing your winter tools, such as a snow blower ensure that all gasoline is removed from the tank to prevent vapors from entering the atmosphere and storage area. This is also a fire prevention issue.

Don’t forget at the cleanup day on April 6. If you cannot volunteer use this day to do the cleanup in your own neighborhood. As always the EAC would like your ideas and feedback. You can reach us through the link in the in the Town Of McCandless website or via eac@townofmccandless.org.

March 2019

Looking forward to spring cleaning, if you have stuff in your house, basement, attic, garage that you’d like to get rid of but might not want to throw in the trash and landfill, here are some options …

Town’s Recycling Info

Check the town’s website to find out recycling info from Waste Management, especially the At Your Door pick up service for items that are hard to recycle or dispose of. Click here for more info.

Giant Eagle

By now everyone knows that you can recycle plastic shopping bags in the bin outside Giant Eagle (Pine Creek and McIntyre Square locations), but did you know that the bin also accepts plastic newspaper sleeves, stretch film plastic (like around cases of water bottles), clear bags (like bread bags), bubble wrap, plastic produce bags, and dry-cleaner bags? They accept any clean, dry, empty plastic bags and film packaging.

Abitibi Paper Recycling

The green and yellow dumpsters located at most NA schools and some local churches accept newspapers, magazines, office and school papers, shopping catalogs, and mail. No cardboard or phone books, please. Cardboard and phone books can go into your WM recycling container.

Cardboard Overflow Dumpster at Town Hall

If you have extra cardboard to get rid of, you can use the cardboard overflow dumpster in the back of Town Hall. Please remove packing materials and flatten your cardboard before putting it in the dumpster!


Recycle plastic pot and trays at the garden center. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (they look like curly fries) and rechargeable batteries (like from power tools) and cell phones can be recycled near the customer service desk.


Located on McKnight Rd in Ross and Perry Highway in Wexford, Goodwill accepts donations of household goods, clothing, most electronics and much more. The Perry Highway location (next to Totin’s Diner) is a new Donation Express location, no longer a retail store. Click here to see to what Goodwill accepts and cannot accept for donations.

Construction Junction

Located near Bakery Square in Pittsburgh, Construction Junction is a great resource for re-using building materials, like doors, kitchen cabinets, wall and floor tiles, and hundreds of other unique “finds,” and for donating materials from your home remodeling or building project. Check them out at www.cjreuse.org. 

Salvaged PGH

Located in Wexford (251 Church Rd, Perry Highway at Rt 910), the goal of Salvaged PGH is to reclaim, restore, and repurpose architectural salvage materials by rescuing and recycling building materials. Check them out if you’re planning a home renovation project. Website is https://salvagedpgh.com. 

February 2019

This month, the EAC will be focusing on water conservation tips!

• Prevent burst water pipes:

  1. Drip your faucets in very cold weather when asleep or away from home. Put a large pot or pail to catch the water and use it to water plants or even flush toilets
  2. Winterize (wrap) your water pipes including outdoor pipes

• Insulate hot water pipes to help the hot water stay hot and protect against leaks

• Use a shower bucket. Why waste that cold water while you are waiting for your shower to warm up? Use the water to water plants, flush toilets, cleaning, etc. This is a good trick to use all year long.

• Don’t let the water run continuously while brushing teeth or shaving

• Check for leaking toilets by periodically lifting up the cover and listening for running water in your waste drop pipe

• Rinse vegetables or wash foods in a basin of water rather than in running water

• Use the garbage disposal sparingly — compost instead!

January 2019

The EAC would like to remind everyone about the Town’s Tree Planting Program (yes, I know, another reminder about this). New year? New trees!

With this program, the Town is encouraging residents to plant trees on their property and report it to the Town. This will allow for more tree canopy cover in the Town, helping to reduce stormwater runoff and stormwater pollution. The Town will tabulate the number of trees planted within a 5-year period (which started in March 2018) to determine how much sediment has been removed from its stormwater.

Other than autumn, spring is the best time to plant trees. So, let that be something to look forward to during these dark, cold months.

If you plant trees in 2019, send an e-mail to ms4@townofmccandless.org to report it. Please include your name, address and the number of trees you planted for our records. If you need a little extra motivation, check out the National Tree Benefit Calculator to learn about the ecological and economical benefits of the trees you plant.

Already have mature trees? Well, if you have trees that blossom during the warmer months, winter is the best time to prune them.

December 2018

The Town of McCandless Environmental Advisory Committee wishes you a safe, joyous and sustainable holiday season! Here are 10 ideas for a more sustainable holiday:

  • Give Experiences — tickets, classes, memberships (i.e., Venture Outdoor Membership providing unique experiences in North Park).
  • Give Plants — it can be a starter from an existing house plant or a tree! (See the local Best Feeds for discounts on trees for the TOM Tree Planting Program.)
  • Give Rechargeable Batteries — with gifts that require batteries.
  • Consider the Source — Choose recycled or sustainably sourced materials. Shop local to support area shops, makers, and artisans while reducing shipping costs and impacts.
  • Plant or Recycle the Christmas Tree
  • Decorate with natural, handmade and recycled products — popcorn, dried fruit to buttons.
  • Decorate with solar powered lights or LED lights. (LED outdoor holiday lights use 1/50th the electricity of conventional lights.)
  • Compost — food waste to the Christmas Tree … don’t be part of the billions of food wasted each year around the world! It is never too late to start a compost pile in your garden or add a compost bins to your gift wish list. Your tomato plants will love you next growing season!
  • Cloth Reusable Bags for Shopping and Gifts — it might be silly to say this but plastic bags are still a big waste issue and impacts the efficiency of recycling programs when they are intermingled with other recyclable materials. 
  • Furoshiki — I saved my favorite for last! Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese method of using cloth to wrap gifts. Google or Pinterest it for ideas. Basically, it is a fun wrapping method that is reusable and eco-friendly. The cloth can be a scarf, blanket or a beautiful piece of leftover fabric.

Snap a photo or video and share all the SUSTAINABLE GREEN HOLIDAY FUN! #GreenTOM

November 2018

For two years, the McCandless Environmental Advisory Committee has been publishing tips on sustainability and general environmental awareness in the monthly editions of McMail.

We hope this has helped educate you on these subjects and maybe — just maybe — got you to think about putting some of those tips into action in your own life.

Earlier in October, nearly 70 volunteers participated in the fall 2018 McCandless roadside cleanup.

The volunteers collected roughly 110 bags of trash (focusing on Ingomar Road, Blazier Drive, Duncan Manor, Vincentian Fields and parts of McKnight Road). Additionally, volunteers found items such as tires, kitty litter tubs, gardening pots, the front grate of a car, a hubcap, a 33 RPM vinyl record, a full bottle of lotion and a variety of balls (tennis, golf, base and even wiffle).

We hope to do another cleanup in spring 2019, so be on the lookout for info on that if you too are ready to go into action.

If you want to learn more about the EAC and what it does, check out our page on the Town website. Here, you will find a compilation of all of the tips we have published as well as information on several of the projects that the committee is working on and contact information.

Thanks again for reading.

October 2018

The Town of McCandless is in the midst of its Tree Planting Program, which encourages residents and businesses to report the planting of trees on their property. This will allow for more tree canopy cover in the Town, helping to reduce stormwater runoff (stuff like this also reduces stormwater pollution because trees take up nutrients and pollutants through their root systems).

This fall, you will have two opportunities to get a free tree to plant!

In an effort to recover tree canopy lost in Allegheny County, Tree Pittsburgh is hosting 2 tree giveaways (including one in North Park).

The nonprofit group is partnering with Duquesne Light Company, the Arbor Day Foundation, TruGreen, and FedEx to distribute 1,000 trees (500 at each event) this fall.

The giveaways are scheduled for Saturday, October 13 in the parking lot of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, and Saturday, November 3 at North Park.

While the trees are provided at no cost, Tree Pittsburgh asks that you register for either of the events to secure your tree. To register, click here.

Species at the giveaways will include river birch, sycamore, cherry dogwood, black gum, tulip poplar, and more. Species cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability.

Be sure to report your planting to ms4@townofmccandless.org once it is complete. Be sure to include your address when reporting.

One other thing …

Did you know that the Ingomar Garden Club does most of the maintenance and beautification at Councill Memorial Park (located at the corner of Ingomar, Ingomar Heights and Highland)? For that matter, did you even know Councill Memorial Park exists? Check out a video produced by the EAC with more on this subject here.

September 2018

For nearly two years, the Environmental Advisory Committee has been working to help residents to better take care of our environment, and also to better understand why this is important. One of the easiest things we can do is to properly recycle the items we have used and no longer need. Recycling has been the law in PA for 30 years. Given that it has been a part of our lives for that long period of time, it is easy to take for granted that some things can be recycled in your home recycling cart and other things that seem like they might be able to be disposed of that way cannot be. Check out the little “quiz” below to test your knowledge (answers will be located at the bottom of this article).


Question 1 — Which of the following plastics CANNOT be recycled in my recycle cart (to see what type of plastic an item is, look for the recycling symbol for the number)?

A. #1

B. #2

C. #5

D. #6


Question 2 — Can I recycle pizza boxes in my recycling cart?

A. Yes

B. No


Question 3 — I totally can put plastic bags in my recycling cart, right?

A. Yes

B. No


Question 4 — What color of glass bottles and jars can I dispose of in my recycling cart?

A. Green

B. Clear

C. Brown

D. All colors


Question 5 — I just got a brand new, 80-inch TV. I no longer want my old TV. What should I do with it?

A. Take a screwdriver to it and get rid of pieces in the trash a little bit at a time

B. Leave it at the curb and hope for the best

C. Utilize the At Your Door service provided through Waste Management

D. Wait for the Town’s e-waste drop-off event or a PRC drop-off event


Question 6 — Speaking of my new TV, what should I do with the box?

A. Leave it standing at the curb outside of the carts

B. Don’t worry. I got it into my recycling cart. It is sticking out and keeping the lid open, but I got it in

C. Flatten and/or cut it so it fits in the recycling cart with the lid closed

D. Take it to the cardboard recycling dumpster located behind Town Hall


Answers: Question 1 — D (Plastic #6 is polystyrene, AKA Styrofoam or a relative, which are not accepted at conventional recycling plants; one place in the region where you can drop off Styrofoam to recycle is Appliance Warehouse on South 6th Street in Pittsburgh’s South Side; additionally, the UPS Store at McCandless Crossing will take Styrofoam packing peanuts); Question 2 — B (pizza boxes are contaminated by grease, and cannot be recycled); Question 3 — B (plastic bags can get caught in the machinery at single-stream processing plants and can grind the machinery to a halt; if you want to get rid of these, drop them off at the bins located at stores like Giant Eagle or Trader Joe’s); Question 4 — D (all colors are accepted via the single-stream process); Question 5 — C and D (if you own your home, you can use the At Your Door service; if you rent your home or prefer drop-off events, you can wait for the Town’s e-waste event usually held in January or at one of PRC’s events); Question 6 — C and D (the lid to your recycling cart must be closed in order to be properly serviced; the cardboard dumpster behind Town Hall is available for residents to use when they have to get rid of excess cardboard that won’t fit in their cart)

August 2018

Over the past 10 years, the number of Lyme disease — which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick — reports has increased dramatically in Allegheny County.

Lyme disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics. Some people may remain untreated because early symptoms can be mild and do not always include a telltale “bull’s-eye rash” that can appear three to 30 days after the bite. If untreated, Lyme disease can lead to serious complications such as chronic arthritis and neurological problems.

To prevent being bitten by ticks when venturing outside:

  • Avoid tick habitats
  • Spray clothes/shoes with Permethrin or wear pre-treated clothes
  • Wear long sleeves/pants, and tuck pants into socks
  • Spray skin with insect repellent
  • Do daily tick checks for everyone in your household (including pets)
  • Shower as soon as possible; check head to toe, front to back.

If you find a tick on yourself or someone else:

  • Remove tick immediately (this is critical to prevent disease)
  • Grab the tick close to skin with tweezers
  • Pull gently straight upwards until the tick releases
  • DO NOT put anything on the tick (such as petroleum jelly, nail polish, etc.), and do not twist, jerk or squeeze the tick
  • Seal the tick in a ziptop bag with a moist cotton ball
  • Clean the bite site with antiseptic
  • See a physician for testing, diagnosis and treatment
  • Consider tick testing
  • Monitor for symptoms in the coming days/weeks/months

Thank you to PA Lyme Resource Center for these important tips. For more information, visit https://palyme.org.

July 2018

The Town of McCandless is constantly working on environmental issues. We would like to talk about Idling, Emissions, and Pollution Control. Why is this important? Looking at the issue it is obvious these topics are bad for the environment if not addressed. The Town of McCandless is also working on a Sustainable PA Community Certification. This certification is an important part of making McCandless a model town and a town the will be known for its work to improve the environment and sustain the results of this effort.

The EPA has a page that talks about what we can do to reduce pollution from vehicles and engines. The entire article can be found here.

The topics are:

  1. Drive Less
  2. Drive Wise
  3. Choose fuel efficient vehicles
  4. Don't Idle
  5. Optimize home deliveries
  6. Use fuel efficient lawn and gardening equipment

There are some very good suggestions and ideas. Please read this article.

The second article, found here, is much more detailed and technical but it applies and for those who may want or like detailed information and supporting numbers this will be great reading.  

We ask that you read and pass this on to friends and neighbors to spread the ideas and be a steward for the Town of McCandless and its efforts to gain our sustainability certification.

June 2018

The tip for this month is a word, IMAGINATION. One of the definitions of this word is “ability of create new things or ideas of to combine old ones in new forms.” So what does imagination have to do with the environment? The best way to understand this is by example.

Recently a music teacher at the North Allegheny McKnight Elementary school — Mr. Dennis Morton — sent an e-mail to parents to remind them of the upcoming strings concert. In the e-mail, he asked parents if they could send him used gift cards.

You see, Mr. Morton accompanies the children with a guitar and in doing so, he goes through a number of guitar picks every school year. Guitar picks can cost as little as $1 to up to $5 each. Mr. Morton, using his IMAGINATION, realized he could make guitar picks from old gift cards. Each gift card can produce 4 guitar picks. In doing this, he also is recycling and helping the environment.

The point is, how many have looked at their recyclable trash and imagined what one might be able to do with things like milk cartons, pop bottles, Styrofoam, egg cartons, carry-out food containers, etc.? Challenge your children to look at things and create new things old ones in new forms.

The EAC would like to thank Mr. Morton for not only teaching our children the ARTS but using this to also teach them how to IMAGINE what they can do with things as simple as a gift card.

Mr. Morton is still looking for those used gift cards. If you have any, strike a line through the back of the card and send them to Mr. Dennis Morton at McKnight Elementary School or drop them off at the office to be placed in his mail box.

Educationally speaking — Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are the “three Rs” of a healthy environment.

May 2018

This month we would like to talk briefly about sustainability and stewardship in the Town of McCandless. The town is responsible for managing its stormwater. This is being completed by the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, known as MS4. 

The details of MS4 and the Town’s responsibility can be found here. The Town is mandated to be compliant with MS4 by the state of Pennsylvania.

As you browse through the information you see that many of the items that need to be completed are going to need to be completed by the Town of McCandless using their resources. However, this MS4 requirement is an opportunity for residents to be stewards of McCandless and contribute to our sustainability.

So how do we as residents of McCandless contribute to the MS4 project? The short answer is TREES. The planting of trees can help one of the requirements of water retention in MS4. Every time we plant a tree, it adds to the stormwater retention amount required by MS4. We have to report this.

It is the time of the year when we start grooming our property for the sprint, summer, and fall. One thing that some of us do is plant trees either of mark a property line, provide shade, or curb appeal of our homes. The other contribution we make is storm water retention and meeting requirements of MS4.

So we would like anyone who if planting a tree, whether by yourself or a landscaper, please send notification to the following address ms4@townofmccandless.org. We would like to recognize you as a steward of the Town of McCandless by placing you name in future issues of McMail and the Town Crier and your contribution to the MS4 sustainability project.

April 2018

The season is changing again and it is time to get ready for warm weather and sun. As we prepare we should look at the following:

  • Service your lawn mower to decrease pollution from exhaust
  • Clean up flower beds from debris and fallen leaves
  • Have a professional air conditioning contractor inspect and maintain your system
  • Trim shrubs and plants near the air conditioning unit for proper air flow and circulation
  • Drain the sediment from your water heater, this with prolong the life of the water heater and save on the gas or electricity needed to heat the water
  • When storing your winter tools, such as a snow blower ensure that all gasoline is removed from the tank to prevent vapors from entering the atmosphere and storage area. This is also a fire prevention issue.

Don’t forget at the cleanup day in April. If you cannot volunteer use this day to do the cleanup in your own neighborhood. As always the EAC would like your ideas and feedback. You can reach us through the link in the in the Town Of McCandless website or via eac@townofmccandless.org.

March 2018

It’s that time again — time for more environmental tips from the Environmental Advisory Committee.

Have you ever thought of you clothes dryer as an environmental appliance? Check your dryer vent for lint build-up and clogs. This can cause longer drying times, use excessive electrical power and be a fire hazard. Clean from the back of the dryer to where it exits the vent outside your house.

The excessive rain (kind of like the rain we’ve had recently) can cause many problems including:

  • Leaking in your basement
  • Clogging of gutters and downspouts
  • Roof leakage

Check your basements along the walls and normally hidden areas for water leakage. Check your gutters and downspouts for cloves as well as drains to the storm sewers. Check your attic for roof leakage that may eventually show up on your ceilings.

February 2018

About two months ago, the EAC published a video showing some of its members practicing basic sustainability around the house, and asking for Town residents to share what they are doing. Here are a few things the Moore family of Grubbs Road are doing:

  • We don’t keep paper towels in the house, and only use cloth rags to clean up. Also, we use vinegar, citric acid, baking soda, and essential oils for cleaners.
  • We do keep regular paper tissues for guests, but we also have a box of little baby wash cloths and cut up t-shirts that can be used as tissues, washed, and reused. 
  • I used to cloth diaper my babies, though that has fallen to the side with four kids and homeschooling. I just can’t keep up with everything!
  • For lawn care, we have an electric push mower that is battery powered. Our yard is 1 acre, which is larger than recommended for the mower, but we also have a leaf blower that came with a compatible battery so we start with two fully charged batteries. Once the first is depleted, we recharge it while using the second one. It doesn’t fully recharge in that time but is usually enough to finish the lawn. If it is not enough, we finish the next day.
  • We do not use weed killer on our lawn; only organic fertilizer (Milorganite, which stinks but makes the grass very green). When there is poison ivy, I wear gloves and pull it by hand and use a grocery store bag to dispose of it in the garbage, using a double tying trick to “double bag” it with a single bag. So that is not terribly eco-friendly but I think it is better than using Roundup and I do try to get the whole yard cleared at once, so only one pair of gloves and bag are used until more grows in the yard.
  • We try to avoid using foil and plastic wrap in the fridge, instead using paper, silicone lids, or other plates to cover our leftovers.
  • We shop for secondhand items when it is practical to do so.

Thank you to Lindsay Moore and her family for sharing their sustainability tips with us. If you haven’t seen the video yet, check it out here. If you want to share what you are doing, contact us via email or 412-364-0616 Ext. 118.

December 2017

It is now December and the year is coming to and end. However, there is always time for tips to help all of our residents during the holiday season. So here are some tips for the upcoming winter season:

  1. There is one more leaf pickup on December 8. Make sure you have placed the last of your leaves to the curb.
  2. Make sure that all of the leaves are removed from the storm sewer grates.
  3. The snow is coming, so remember that you should not blow or shovel any of your you snow into the street.
  4. Make sure you do not leave your car on the street after a heavy snow, to assist Public Works in keeping our streets clean and safe.
  5. Did you know that the US Post Office will not deliver your mail if they can not get to your mailbox? Keep it clear of snow to get those holiday cards and gifts.
  6. Speaking of gifts, do you know that you can get solar powered toys? Just go on line and search for solar powered toys. They are great for the environment and reduce the use and cost of batteries.

On behalf of the Environmental Advisory Council, we wish you all a very pleasant holiday season and look forward to working for you in the new year to continue to make the Town of McCandless an environmentally safe and sustainable community.

November 2017

The leaves of fall are with us and (can you believe it?) so is the holiday season. This time of year means celebration and decorations, and along with it comes snow, ice, and cold weather. Here is a reminder of previous tips and some steps we can take to prepare for the weather and save energy.


To most of us leaves are a necessary evil for having at the shade from the trees. So what can we do? As we rake or blow our leaves, remember that the Town of McCandless provides leaf pickup during the fall.

  • Keep neat piles at the curb.
  • Do not cover catch basins with leaves, as they will block drainage from rain.
  • If you have compost piles, leaves are a good balance for grass weeds and other things in your compost pile.
  • You can also buy leaf bags at Lower or Home Depot if you like to bag your leaves.
  • Leaves are good to protect your perennials from the winter. Once cut, you can cover the roots with leaves.

Power Tools

The power tools we have been using need to be stored and new ones prepared for winter use.

  • Power mowers and lawn tractors should be stored with no gas in them. This eliminates a fire hazard and helps mechanically in spring.
  • It is time to prepare snow blowers. Power snow blowers should be serviced and fresh gas added. This will provide dependable service and reduce emissions in the air.

Holiday Decorations

  • If you are using electric power for outdoor decorations, use a timer to conserve energy.
  • LED lights use less energy than the older type lights.
  • Did you know you can take this further and purchase solar powered holiday lights for outside use?

October 2017

Fall is upon us and it is time to think about how we can all be stewards of the environment in the Town of McCandless. The leaves have already started to turn and in some neighborhoods they are already falling. It is also harvest season and we are now collecting fresh fruits and vegetables from our gardens. So what can we do to be stewards of the environment? Let’s take a look at some options.


To most of us, leaves are a necessary evil for having at the shade from the trees. So what can we do? As we rake or blow our leaves remember that the Town of McCandless provides leaf pickup during the fall months (see the article a few items above).

  • Do not cover catch basins with leaves; they will block drainage from rain.
  • If you have compost piles, leaves are a good balance for grass weeds and other things in your compost pile.
  • Leaves are good to protect your perennials from the winter. Once cut, you can cover the roots with leaves.

Vegetable Gardens

If anyone has ever planted a garden, you know that when the vegetables become ready for picking they all are ready at the same time. So what can you do with this over-abundance?

  • You can some vegetables for use during the winter months and save money at the supermarket
  • You can share your abundance with neighbors
  • You can also donate the extra vegetables to the local food bank and help those less fortunate.
  • Don’t forget to place any of your damaged crops into your compost pile.

Around Our Homes

This is a good time to prepare your house for the winter months. You can save on gas bills and prevent fires by doing some simple tasks.

  • Look at the caulking around your windows. If it is old and cracking, now is a good time to replace that caulking.
  • When is the last time you had your furnace serviced? Dirt in the chambers steals valuable heat and increases gas usage.
  • Look at the ventilation ducts in your house. Are they insulated in your garage or other exposed areas that are taking heat from the living spaces?
  • Have your ventilation ducts ever been cleaned? Again a good way to minimize heat loss and gas cost.
  • If you have a chimney, and you burn logs, when was the last time you had your chimney cleaned? This is one of the major causes of house fires.

August 2017

The local environment involves three entities, the Town of McCandless, Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC), and the People of McCandless. We are all stewards of our community.

The Town of McCandless provides stewardship by the services it provides for the community of McCandless. This is accomplished by our Town Manager, Town Council, Police, Sanitary Authority, Public Works, Volunteer Fire Companies, and the many volunteers on boards and committees.

The recently established EAC provides stewardship by determining ways to maintain the environment. They recommend and advise Town Council of ways to improve the environment.

These are a few of the current initiatives:

  • Greenspace inventory (map and inventory of all green, open and park space in the Town)
  • Development of walking and hiking trails
  • Providing Environmental Tips and Check Lists
  • Visiting businesses throughout McCandless to ensure they are following recycling requirements
  • The residents of McCandless are stewards also. Many provide stewardship and don’t realize they are doing so. So how can the community in McCandless enhance the environment? Here are a few suggestions:
  • Ensure you are using the recycling opportunities the town provides through Waste Management.
  • Drainage and clean streets is a dual responsibility. The Public Works Department maintains drainage through street cleaning and maintenance of roads and systems.

Residents responsibilities include:

  • When mowing, do not discharge your clippings in the street. Pick them up and dispose of them properly.
  • During periods of heavy rain, Public Works can be overwhelmed with calls for clogged drainage basin covers. Assist them by keeping the basin covers in your neighborhood clear of debris to prevent street flooding.

July 2017

The die-off of America's honeybee colonies — which are disappearing in droves because of parasites, pesticides, poor nutrition and disease — leaves beekeepers scrambling to salvage the vital insects. The task of solving the honeybee problem, experts say, isn't isolated to beekeepers. A few changes to home patios and gardens can lend honeybees a much-needed assist.

Last year, reportedly a third of the nation's honeybee colonies died, which is low considering the bigger decreases of the last decade. This doesn't necessarily mean fewer bees. Beekeepers can salvage a dead colony, but it comes with labor and production costs.

Bees pollinate one out of every three bites of American food and $15 billion worth of crops annually. Planting specific flowers and herbs to create a bee-friendly yard could be your best option.

  1. Plant pollinator-friendly flowers - Honeybees help transfer pollen from plant to plant for reproduction. Planting a bee-friendly garden of "pollinator-friendly" flowers and herbs for bees to forage can be a game-changer. The National Honey Board (yes, this actually exists) recommends plants native to your area. The board recommends checking with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation to find which plants my work best. Choose a sunny, not-so-breezy area. Plant your flowers and herbs in a place with enough sun to allow pollinators to grow, but also windless enough to not blow away delicate-winged pollinators.
  2. Set out water - Bees need water too. The Honey Board suggests setting out a "bee bath" in the form of a plate of water. A shallow container with marbles or rocks for bees to land also would work. Another option is a small bird bath or a decorative rock with spots where rainwater can collect. Bees use water to regulate their temperature, help with digestion and dilute stored honey.
  3. Watch the chemicals - Consider the pollinators when using pesticides and insecticides in your garden. Pulling weeds by hand can help, and introducing other insects could help fend of pests. If you do decided to use chemicals, follow the instructions carefully on the package. People should apply the chemicals early in the morning when bees and other pollinators aren't around. Also, don't spray them in other places where polinators may land.

June 2017

We now are entering into June and, soon, the beginning of summer. Our children will be out of school and more projects will begin in our homes and yards. So, let's talk about the debris from our projects abd what to do with them.

Our projects take on many forms. Some are major and require dismantling a room in our home or just remodeling a room. We also do outside projects, like building and replacing decks or replacing roofs.

Some of us hire a contractor to do the work and leave the hauling away of debris to the contractor. However, many are do-it-yourself projects, and it is your responsibility to remove the debris.

There is no dumping permitted in McCandless unless the property owner gives you specific permission and/or it is a permitted dumping site. So, how can we be more diligent when discarding debris from projects?

  1. You can hire a private hauler to take debris away. This includes the waste hauler contracted by the Town (currently Waste Management). There may be additional fees involved in using the contracted hauler.
  2. You can haul the debris yourself to an authorized site that accepts the type of materials you are disposing.
  3. You can donate materials that still are useful to different organizations.
  4. It is advisable that you read the Town of McCandless Ordinances listed below for more information:

May 2017

We are now into the spring lawn care and mowing season. If you have a lawn service, they have probably already made their first application. If you take care of your own lawn, you may or may not have fertilized your lawn. Have you ever considered the environment when you are treating your lawn?

Do you look at the ingredients of fertilizers and see what pesticieds are in them? Do you look to see how they affect the environment? More importantly, how could they affect your children or pets? Most popular fertilizers have pesticides or chemicals that affect the environment of our children and pets, as well as aquatic life if they make it to the water streams.

So, how can you be more diligent when treating your lawn in the spring, summer and fall? Here are some tips and facts:

  1. If you use a lawn service, do they have an organic alternative to the normal products that they apply to your lawn? Many do, but you have to ask that they use and organic method to treat your lawn. Check their websites or talk to the technician when they make their next application.
  2. If you treat your own lawn, purchase the organic products instead of the ones with pesticides and other chemicals that are dangerous to the environment. They may be a bit more expensive, but what is the price of the well-being of your children, pets and our environment?
  3. The following links will provide excellent information on the effects of pesticides:

April 2017

As spring finally has sprung, it is time to think about yard work and planting flowers and shrubs. Here are some tips from the Environmental Advisory Committee to help in your efforts to brighten up your properties and prepare for the tasks ahead:

  1. Service your power equipment, lawnmower, grass trimmer, and/or leaf and grass blower. Change the oil, replace the spark plugs and change the air filters. This will make your equipment run more efficiently and reduce pollutants.
  2. When cleaning your yard, place debris in a recyclable container or a bag. Yard waste containers (with the green lid) are available through Waste Management. Alternatively, residents can put out up to three paper composting bags of yard waste per week for collection.
  3. When planning your garden and landscaping for the season, consider native plants. Here are some native plants that are planted in the Point State Park Gardens:
    • Allegheny Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
    • American Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
    • Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina)
    • Dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenia)
    • Hay-scented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula)
    • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Many other native plants are planted in Point State Park Gardens and throughout the state. Click here for more information on native plants.

March 2017

  1. In winter/spring cleaning, use the least hazardous product to do the job; assess your needs and read the labels. Especially in winter months, your house is closed and more airtight. Toxic products can concentrate fumes in the air you breathe and harm your health. Young children can be especially vulnerable to these effects. Water down your drain also carries residues from your home, and many harsh household chemicals are not removed by sewage treatment or septic systems. Instead of harsh chemicals, consider using safer cleaning products such as baking soda and vinegar. Use baking soda to scrub. Vinegar makes good window cleaner (mix 1/4 cup with 1 quart warm water).
  2. When camping or skiing, prevent pollution. Take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but tracks. Growing numbers of people are using wild lands, and the pollution they leave behind can add up, damaging habitats and reducing the beauty of the area you came to enjoy. Pack out all trash; don't litter. Dispose of human waste properly. Use designated trails to preserve the beauty of parks and wild lands. Do not drive off-road vehicles through streams or rivers.

February 2017

We are stewards of our environment. There are many ways to play a part in this effort and some of them are in our own backyard. Here are some recycling tips that can be accomplished in the McCandless area.

What do you do with your plastic bags? Every Giant Eagle in the area accepts plastic bags for recycling. You can recycle your plastic bags every time you go shopping. Or, save the energy and material for production and recycling by using your own reusable bags.

Cardboard boxes can be recycled and used over and over again. The Town of McCandless provides containers for recycling cardboard in the lower parking lot of Town Hall. These containers can be used for excess or larger cardboard that does not fit into the residential recycling containers.

Many of the tools and toys we use today require batteries. This includes cars and boats. You can recycle your old batteries at any Batteries Plus Bulbs stores in the area. We have one on McKnight Road in Ross Township. When you are out running errands or shopping, bring your old batteries with you and drop them off.

Allegheny County has a pamphlet called the "Recycling Resource Directory" on the ACHD website. You can find it here. It is a great resource for tips and locations for recycling all types of materials.

January 2017

Here are some winter environmental tips brought to you by the Town of McCandless Environmental Advisory Committee:

  1. Conserve energy by turning down the thermostat a couple of degrees in the house and on the water heater, and turning off unused lights and computers. Not only will this lower your energy bills, but energy production from coal, oil and natural gas is one of the leading causes of greenhosue gases that contribute to global climate change.
  2. Avoid unnecessary engine idling. Turn off your vehicle engine when parked for more than 30 seconds, waiting in lines of for passengers. When you leave your car or truck running while it's parked or sitting still, the engine produces air pollution. This pollution contributes to problems like smog and global warming, besides being harmful to health. It is more gas-efficient to turn off most warmed-up vehicles than to idle for more than 30 seconds.
  3. Burn dry wood in your fireplace. Wet woods burns incompletely and releases more pollutants into the air. Not only does this smoke end up drifting toward your neighbors, but it can settle around your own house and be drawn back into your home. Respiratory diseases (like asthma) are a serious and growing health threat, and tine particulates and pollution in wood smoke are among the causes.