EPA, State, Environmental Groups Promote "Green Infrastructure" Solutions to Water Pollution
EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson celebrated Earth Day by signing a statement of intent at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center with four national organizations to promote the use of “green infrastructure” approaches, such as rain-catching roofs and gardens, to lessen sewer overflows and runoff after storms.
“Earth Day is an annual reminder to all Americans that environmental responsibility is everyone’s responsibility,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “EPA is pleased to join our water infrastructure partners to help communities understand the environmental and economic benefits of going ’green.’”
The statement formalizes a collaborative effort among EPA, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Association of States and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Low Impact Development (LID) Center to assist state, city and local governments in implementing and evaluating innovative and effective green infrastructure approaches.
Through green infrastructure techniques, stormwater and its pollutants are managed using natural systems to help absorb, infiltrate, evaporate or reuse excess stormwater instead of using traditional infrastructure that collects, stores and transports water through large, buried sewer systems. Rain barrels and cisterns, roofs that are covered with vegetation and plantings, tree boxes, rain gardens, and pocket wetlands are just a few examples of common green infrastructure approaches. Water is treated as an important resource rather than a waste product.
A variety of initiatives are included in the statement of intent. EPA and its partners plan to offer technical assistance, training, and outreach to potential users of green infrastructure, including states, cities, counties, utilities, environmental and public health agencies, engineers, architects, landscape architects, planners and nongovernmental organizations.
The creation of a Web-based green infrastructure resource center will assist communities in complying with requirements for combined sewer overflows and municipal stormwater permits. EPA also seeks to recognize the most effective and innovative uses of green infrastructure through awards and recognition programs to meet the Clean Water Act goals while making models of green infrastructure techniques available nationwide.
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