EPA Provides $950,000 to Improve Water Quality Using Green Infrastructure
EPA is providing funds to improve water quality using green infrastructure in 17 communities
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it is providing $950,000 to help 17 communities expand green infrastructure use to improve water quality and protect people’s health and benefit communities. Green infrastructure uses vegetation and soil to manage rainwater where it falls, keeping polluted storm water from entering sewer systems and waterways in local communities. The EPA funding is intended to increase incorporation of green infrastructure into storm water management programs, protect water quality and provide community benefits including job creation and neighborhood revitalization.
“Effective storm water management is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation,” said Nancy Stoner, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Water. She announced the funds at a storm water symposium in Baltimore, Md., held by the Water Environment Federation. “Polluted storm water can be harmful to the health of our nation’s water bodies. These funds will help expand the use of green infrastructure, revitalize local neighborhoods and help safeguard people’s health and the environment.”
EPA is awarding the funds to diverse communities across 16 states. Some communities, like Beaufort, S.C., and Neosho, Mo., are small towns in urban growth areas interested in preserving and protecting their healthy waterways. Others, such as Camden, N.J. and Pittsburgh, Pa., are large cities interested in adding green infrastructure into their redevelopment projects to restore degraded urban waters and help revitalize their communities. The selected communities also provide an opportunity to demonstrate the potential of green infrastructure across a range of climate zones.
Green infrastructure captures and filters pollutants by passing storm water through soils and retaining it on site. Effective green infrastructure tools and techniques include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems. Communities are increasingly using green infrastructure to supplement or substitute for single-purpose “gray” infrastructure investments such as pipes, filters, and ponds.
In April 2011, EPA renewed its commitment to green infrastructure with the release of the “Strategic Agenda to Protect Waters and Build More Livable Communities through Green Infrastructure.” The agenda identifies community partnerships as one of five key activities that EPA will pursue to accelerate the implementation of green infrastructure and EPA announced partnerships with 10 “model communities.”
In February 2012, EPA announced the availability of $950,000 in technical assistance to a second set of partner communities to help overcome some of the most common barriers to green infrastructure. EPA received letters of interest from over 150 communities across the country.
For more information on the EPA’s funding for green infrastructure, visit: www.water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/gi_support.cfm.