Water: Green Infrastructure
What is EPA Doing to Support Green Infrastructure?
Since 2007, EPA has actively engaged with public and private partners to promote the implementation of sustainable stormwater infrastructure. EPA renewed its commitment to green infrastructure in April of 2011 with the release of an updated Strategic Agenda and the initiation of 10 community partnerships. EPA recognizes local practitioners as the leaders in the implementation of multi-functional green infrastructure and seeks to foster continued innovation through information exchange and the removal of key barriers.
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The agenda identifies five key objectives that the EPA will pursue to encourage the implementation of green infrastructure:
- Community partnerships;
- Clarifying green infrastructure within the regulatory and enforcement contexts;
- Outreach and information exchange;
- Financing; and
- Tool development and capacity building.
2012 Community Partners
Partner: Cape Cod Commission
Summary: The Cape Cod Commission has requested assistance in identifying and designing cost effective green infrastructure projects in order to help restore nitrogen impacted estuaries. The projects will be located in environmental justice communities.
Partner: Town of Franklin
Summary: Franklin has requested assistance in developing a “Green Stormwater Infrastructure Implementation Strategy” that quantifies the benefits of existing green infrastructure, identifies opportunities for future placement, and/or assesses barriers in local codes and ordinances.
Partner: Town of Sanford
Summary: Sanford has requested assistance in redesigning a former mill complex that drains to the Mousam River in order to revitalize the river as a recreational, ecological and economic asset.
Partner: Cooper’s Ferry Partnership
Summary: The Copper’s Ferry Partnership has requested assistance in quantifying the benefits of green infrastructure, assessing local codes and ordinances, and developing design guidance to promote the use of green infrastructure.
Partner: Pittsburgh UNITED and 3 Rivers Wet Weather
Summary: Pittsburgh UNITED and 3 Rivers Wet Weather have requested assistance in evaluating the costs and benefits of green infrastructure in order to integrate green infrastructure into wet weather planning for the City of Pittsburgh and the 82 suburban municipalities within the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN).
Partner: City of Atlanta
Summary: Atlanta has requested assistance in developing a conceptual design for a green infrastructure project in a priority watershed in order to help revitalize distressed neighborhoods and reduce flooding and CSOs.
Partner: City of Beaufort
Summary: Beaufort has requested assistance in identifying and designing green infrastructure practices appropriate for the historic Northwest Quadrant in order to address flooding and preserve marsh and river ecosystems.
Partner: Macatawa Area Coordinating Council
Summary: The Macatawa Area Coordinating Council has requested assistance in conducting code and ordinance reviews with MS4 permittees in order to educate local decision-makers on the impact of codes and ordinances on green infrastructure implementation.
La Crosse, WI
Partner: City of La Crosse
Summary: La Crosse has requested assistance in modeling green infrastructure interventions in a flood-prone drainage area in order to help adapt to changing climate, improve downstream water quality, and improve neighborhood walkability.
Partner: City of Dallas
Summary: Dallas has requested assistance in integrating three uncoordinated design manuals developed by different city departments into one manual in order to reduce obstacles to designing and developing green infrastructure.
Partner: City of Omaha
Summary: Omaha has requested assistance in developing tools and guidance that help identify opportunities for cost-effective green infrastructure and ensure that green infrastructure is built properly.
Partner: City of Neosho
Summary: Neosho has requested assistance in conducting a code and ordinance review and developing a design guide for priority conservation areas in order to maintain the City’s high quality waters and reduce flood-related damage.
Partner: Urban Land Conservancy
Summary: The Urban Land Conservancy has requested assistance in identifying and designing an appropriate suite of green infrastructure practices for the Blake Transit Oriented Development project.
Partner: City of Phoenix
Summary: Phoenix has requested assistance in conducting a code and ordinance review in order to educate decision-makers in the arid southwest on the barriers posed by local codes.
Los Angeles, CA
Partner: The Council for Watershed Health
Summary: The Council for Watershed Health has requested assistance in conducting a review of codes, ordinances, and groundwater basin adjudications in order to allow for more systematic implementation of green infrastructure.
Partner: City of Portland
Summary: Portland has requested assistance in developing and modeling green infrastructure opportunities for a 30 acre brownfield redevelopment project in order to advance the integration of green infrastructure into the remediation and redevelopment of the Portland Harbor Superfund area.
Partner: City of Seattle
Summary: Seattle has requested assistance in assessing the environmental benefits associated with the city's extensive network of green infrastructure in order to improve modeling tools and cost comparison methodologies.
2011 Community Partners
Memorandum, Achieving Water Quality Through Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Plans (PDF) (3 pp, 1.1MB) - In October 2011, EPA’s Office of Water (OW) and Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) issued a joint memo encouraging EPA regions to assist their state and local partners in pursuing an integrated planning approach to Clean Water Act waste and stormwater obligations. The memo identifies green infrastructure as one example of a comprehensive solution that can improve water quality while supporting other quality-of-life attributes that enhance the vitality of communities.
Memorandum, Protecting Water Quality with Green Infrastructure in EPA Water Permitting and Enforcement Programs (PDF) (6 pp, 215K) - In April 2011, EPA’s OW and OECA issued a joint memo supporting the use of green infrastructure. The memo reaffirms the commitment of both offices to work with interested communities on incorporating green infrastructure into stormwater permits and remedies for non-compliance with the Clean Water Act (such as Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) consent decrees).
Memorandum, Clarification on Which Stormwater Infiltration Practices/Technologies have the Potential to be Regulated as "Class V" Wells by the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program (PDF) (6 pp, 215K) - In June 2008, EPA issued a memo reaffirming the use of green infrastructure approaches (including infiltration practices that are classified as 'green') for managing stormwater, and providing an overview of UIC program requirements for stormwater infiltration practices that are classified as Class V wells. The memo is supported by a guide describing the major types of stormwater infiltration practices and explaining which practices are generally considered class V wells.
Memorandum, Using Green Infrastructure to Protect Water Quality in Stormwater, CSO, Nonpoint Source and other Water Programs (PDF) (2 pp, 156K) - In March, 2007, Benjamin Grumbles, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Water, issued this memo to promote green infrastructure as a viable stormwater management solution.