National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)

NACWA applauds forward-thinking Philadelphia-EPA partnership

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Washington, D.C. -- The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) will join the Philadelphia Water Department, a NACWA member, on April 10 as they sign an historic partnership agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will allow the City to use green infrastructure to achieve its watershed management goals and to improve water quality.

The Green City Clean Waters Partnership Agreement with EPA will allow Philadelphia to use innovative approaches for stormwater management to reduce water pollution from combined sewers. This agreement marks a unique partnership between federal and city agencies and can serve as a national model for many other urban areas looking to embrace green infrastructure to address wet weather flows.

“This agreement is the perfect example of what can happen when clean water agencies and EPA work together to use a common sense approach to solve our wet weather problems,” said Ken Kirk, executive director of NACWA. “We hope that this will serve as a strong example for both clean water utilities and regulatory agencies as they pursue similar solutions under EPA’s new integrated planning approach.”

Expected to be finalized this month, EPA’s integrated planning approach could provide a smarter, more reasonable path toward achieving improved water quality by using a more holistic view of a community’s water quality obligations and overall watershed needs.

Attendees of the signing event will include Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz.

The Philadelphia Water Department developed the 25-year Green City, Clean Waters plan that incorporates green infrastructure to address the City’s water quality issues. The plan will allow Philadelphia to sustainably meet its water quality goals while complying with environmental laws and regulations.

Clean water agencies across the United States are facing complex environmental and financial challenges while meeting their mission of protecting public health and the environment. Aging infrastructure and changing hydrological conditions related to climate change are creating even greater challenges. Accomplishing these goals will require a significant shift in the Nation’s approach to urban water resources, and green infrastructure techniques such as those planned by Philadelphia can be important elements of this new direction.

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