NACWA Applauds Udall, Edwards for Reintroduction of Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Legislation
Yesterday, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative Donna Edwards (D-MD) re-introduced legislation to provide critical support to innovative stormwater strategies, improving our ability to effectively manage polluted runoff and sewage overflows while relieving pressure on aging infrastructure. S. 1677/H.R. 3449, The Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act of 2013 (formerly known as The Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act), would promote the use of innovative stormwater infrastructure, provide implementation grants for community-based stormwater control projects, and establish up to five Centers of Excellence throughout the country to conduct research, develop recommendations, and provide training and technical assistance for implementing management practices for stormwater control and management.
“As more cities and towns across the country pursue creative solutions to manage stormwater and combined sewer overflows, there is a growing recognition that innovative stormwater management techniques can meet these needs in a more cost-effective and environmentally-effective way” said Ken Kirk, NACWA’s Executive Director. “NACWA commends Senator Udall and Representative Edwards for their leadership on this issue and urges Congress to swiftly pass this legislation.”
As discussed in NACWA’s Water Resources Utility of the Future Blueprint For Action, communities across the country are implementing innovative technology like green infrastructure to better manage stormwater, save money, and improve quality of life more broadly. This is contributing to a broader shift we are seeing among clean water utilities as they transform from basic providers of wastewater services to full blown resource recovery agents. Below is a snapshot of some of the green infrastructure projects NACWA members have undertaken. Many additional communities are in various stages of planning and implementation.
Philadelphia—Green City, Clean Waters is a partnership between Philadelphia and EPA that involves a $2 billion investment in green infrastructure to better manage Philadelphia’s stormwater. The 25-year agreement could be a national model for other cities interested in implementing green infrastructure.
Cincinnati, Ohio—The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) of Greater Cincinnati’s Project Groundwork is a two-phase initiative involving the rebuilding and improving of the city’s sewer system. Green infrastructure projects such as retention basins and pervious pavement are being used to control combined sewer overflows. Phase 1 involves completion of 45 construction projects in and around the city by 2018; Phase 2 (after 2018) comprises 256 construction projects across Hamilton County. The entire plan is estimated to cost $3.5 billion.
Los Angeles, California—In September 2011, Los Angeles passed the Low Impact Development Ordinance, which requires that all development projects greater than 500 square feet be designed to capture, reuse, or infiltrate stormwater runoff. Los Angeles’s Green Alleys Initiative program will add permeable pavement, bioswales, and drought-tolerant vegetation to urban alleys. These projects will improve water quality, reduce flooding, and reduce water demand while creating recreational opportunities and more
NACWA has been working other allied organizations, including American Rivers, the American Society of Landscape Architects, National Resources Defense Council, and the Water Environment Federation to provide technical assistance to the bill’s sponsors and appeal for broad Congressional support.
For more information about this bill and NACWA’s work on green infrastructure and stormwater issues, please visit NACWA’s website.
NACWA represents the interests of more than 300 public agencies and organizations that have made the pursuit of scientifically based, technically sound and cost effective laws and regulations their objective. NACWA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater daily.