serve as a model for other cities. On April 10, EPA signed on to Green City, Clean Waters, a $2 billion investment in green infrastructure aimed at reducing sewer overflows. EPA will collaborate with Philadelphia in several ways, including identifying high-performing green infrastructure designs, supporting a green design competition, and assessing program effectiveness through monitoring and modeling.
Report Shows Economic Advantages of Green Infrastructure
On April 12, American Rivers, the Water Environment Federation, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and ECONorthwest released Banking on Green: How Green Infrastructure Saves Municipalities Money and Provides Economic Benefits Community-wide. According to the report, green infrastructure is a cost-effective way to manage runoff and prevent sewer overflows when integrated into new construction and redevelopment projects. Green infrastructure often offers lower capital costs and operational expenses, as well as reduced land-acquisition requirements. In addition to costing less, green infrastructure reduces economic costs associated with illness — by improving public health — and floods. Green infrastructure also reduces energy costs associated with transporting and treating water and, in the case of green roofs, building heating and cooling. Finally, green infrastructure can improve municipalities’ resiliency to climate change.
EPA To Propose that NPDES Reporting Go Electronic
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will soon propose the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule, which will require NPDES permitees to directly input data into an online system—a method that EPA believes will increase data accuracy and provide more efficient use of limited resources.
EPA will host a free webinar on their proposed NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule on May 23 from 1–3 pm EDT. The webinar help inform NPDES permitees on the proposed rule, clarify the requirements, and outline a schedule for the rule’s release. Register here
Moderators Needed for 2012 Stormwater Symposium
The Water Environment Federation and Chesapeake Water Environment Association are looking for four technical session moderators and 21 co-moderators for the 2012 Stormwater Symposium. Session moderators are needed on July 20, and co-moderators are needed both July 20 and 21. Moderators help organize speakers before and during the session and introduce speakers before each talk. Co-moderators assist in this effort and take over moderator duties if needed. For more information on moderator opportunities, please contact Jeff Cantwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Green Up’ D.C. Online Tool Aids in Sustainable Project Planning
The District of Columbia, in partnership with CH2M Hill and Critigen, created an online tool for D.C. property owners to plan and implement green projects. The tool walks users through the process of choosing a project, calculating the costs and benefits, and finding vendors. The tool even includes information on D.C. stormwater fees and discounts. On the site, users can also find other installed projects and many guidance resources.
California Regional Water Board Enforces Biological Performance as Water Quality Indicator
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board is testing the use of biological performance as an enforceable standard in the San Marcos Creek District permits. The California State Water Resources Control Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are using this as a pilot and working toward a statewide expansion of the standard by 2014. Biological assessments will start with benthic macroinvertebrates as key indicators. In comparison with sampling for chemical contaminants, which shows a snapshot of water quality, biological indicators tell a long-term tale of stream health. Read more about biological indicators.
Maryland Doubles Bay Restoration Fund Fee and Requires Stormwater Utility Fee
Legislation passed April 9 by Maryland's 2012 General Assembly will double the Bay Restoration Fund fee. Money collected will be used for water quality projects, especially reductions in nutrient pollution that affect Chesapeake Bay. Funds will provide grant money for local stormwater projects and will be used to upgrade the state's 67 major wastewater treatment plants, improve septic systems, and increase cover crops. The Assembly also passed another measure requiring Phase 1 municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) to implement a stormwater utility fee. Read more.
State Revolving Funds Can Be Used for Nonpoint Source Projects
Federally subsidized low-interest loans offered through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) State Revolving Fund are not just for public infrastructure projects. Nonpoint source projects and those linked to the National Estuary Program, even those on private lands, can receive funding. According to EPA, the agency provided $90 billion for water quality projects between 1988 and 2001, with $3.8 billion spent on nonpoint source projects. For more information, check out EPA’s April 17 webinar on Using the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for Nonpoint Source and National Estuary Projects.
Virginia Passes Nutrient Trading Act
On April 18, the Virginia General Assembly passed the Nutrient Trading Act, which requires certification of best management practices (BMPs) to qualify as nutrient reduction credits in Virginia water quality trading schemes. The act requires that BMPs be registered with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, which is in charge of implementing and enforcing the act. Based on amendments offered by Gov. Bob McDonnell, the act does not apply to landowners ‘grandfathered’ into Virginia’s less rigorous nutrient program established in 2005.
Stormwater Rulemaking Schedule Delayed
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has again delayed the release of the stormwater rulemaking schedule, which was expected April 27. EPA officials stated the schedule will now be released in early to mid-May along with a posting of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to the Federal Register. The posting of the NPRM will officially move the rulemaking from the pre-proposal to the proposal phase, signaling EPA’s intent to move forward on the rulemaking effort. Recent statements by EPA officials indicate that the proposed rule will likely be released in spring of 2013.
WEF Hosts Meeting on Flood Resilience with U.S. and European Water Professionals
The European Union’s Smart Resilient Technologies Systems and Tools (SMARTeST) program, the Water Environment Foundation (WEF), and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission hosted a one-day workshop at WEF. The workshop included presentations and discussion on the development of applications related to flood resilience and progressive stormwater management, including green infrastructure. The goal was to facilitate an information exchange between U.S. and European professionals. Another such workshop will be held by the same groups during the 2012 Stormwater Symposium.
In Europe and the U.S., some cities are turning to “flood resilience” as a new stormwater and flood management paradigm that combines ecological, structural, social, water quality, and risk management objectives when addressing flood preparedness. Practices employed to meet these goals include green infrastructure. In the U.S., modifications to the Clean Water Act have been introduced that allow for practices addressing both water quality and water quantity objectives. In the European Union, work is underway to forge an approach that combines the mandates of the Floods Directive of 2007 (flood risk management) and of the Water Framework Directive of the year 2000 (water quality and river ecology) to promote better stormwater management.
Repair of Barnegat Bay Stormwater Basins Is Under Way
Ocean County, N.J., has begun repairing storm basins to protect Barnegat Bay, starting with the Todd Road stormwater basin. This project and other basin improvement efforts are part of the larger Barnegat Bay Restoration Plan and corresponding funding initiative. Studies of old stormwater basins showed that soil compaction was preventing water from properly infiltrating the soil. However, a gravel wetland design by the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center will optimize infiltration and could reduce nitrogen — one of the main pollutants of concern — by more than 90%.
Yakima, Wash., Students Help Test Permeable Pavement
On April 18, high school students in Yakima, Wash., helped collect runoff samples from a low-impact development demonstration project. The project — funded in part by a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology — compares pervious asphalt, pervious concrete, and permeable pavers. All three demonstrations have a layer of crushed stone or sand beneath them, along with a plastic liner and underdrain system connecting to collection vaults that redirect stormwater to infiltration trenches. Officials are looking at pollutant removal, along with pavement durability. They have found that permeable pavement may help remove metals. Read more.
Save the Sound Releases Green Infrastructure Feasibility Scan
On April 11, Save the Sound, a program of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, released Green Infrastructure Feasibility Scan for Bridgeport and New Haven, CT. While the report is geared toward two Connecticut cities specifically, it covers the basics of a broad range of green infrastructure practices and discusses implementation concepts that could be applied in numerous locations. The report also discusses financing options, job creation, and costs and benefits. Read the full report.
Check It Out!
The Coca-Cola Co., in partnership with River Network, celebrated the month of April — Earth Month — by donating more than 1000 syrup drums for communities to use as rain barrels. Since the rain barrel program started in 2008, Coca-Cola has provided more than 22,000 drums. The company estimates that these rain barrels have replenished 378,500 m3 (100 million gal.) of water. Read more.