Research centers focused on stormwater infrastructure will be established through federal funding after extensive support from the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA).
Congress has provided $3 million in initial funding for the establishment of three to five Centers of Excellence for Stormwater Infrastructure Technologies (CESITs), a new program authorized in the Infrastructure and Investment in Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021.
The CESITs are to:
“The stormwater sector is extremely data-poor, especially regarding the performance of new and emerging technologies,” says Seth Brown, Executive Director of NMSA. “These centers have the potential to bridge the gap between research and application in our sector through support of technology-focused initiatives.”
WEF and NMSA proposed the concept of creating stormwater centers of excellence as part of their annual Stormwater Policy Recommendations to Congress document, which has resulted in multiple other stormwater policy legislative successes since 2017 when the first recommendations document was released.
“This funding in the FY23 federal budget is a result of over five years of advocacy before Congress by WEF and NMSA and our members to establish stormwater centers of excellence across the nation that will help communities employ the right technologies and practices to address their local stormwater management challenges,” said Walt Marlowe, Executive Director of WEF.
Despite billions of dollars of investment over the last three decades, urban stormwater runoff remains the largest growing source of water pollution across the U.S. Additionally, studies show that there has been a significant increase in extreme rain events over the last 50 years globally and projections are that floodings impacts are expected to accelerate in the future.
“Performance of stormwater infrastructure is critical to meeting the growing needs in the sector,” said Brown. “The CESITs could support existing efforts, such as the Stormwater Testing and Evaluation for Products and Practices (STEPP), which is a program established by WEF and now shepherded by NMSA to drive innovation in the stormwater sector by objectively, robustly, and consistently evaluating the performance of stormwater technology.”
The IIJA additionally created a stormwater planning and implementation grant program, as proposed in the recommendations document. While that program was not funded in 2023, the initial funding for the CESITs will help communities be ready for planning and implementation of grant funding in the future.
Marlowe concluded, “On behalf of WEF and NMSA, we thank Congress for creating and funding the new CESIT program. We will now work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and stakeholders to ensure that the CESITs and other federal stormwater resources help communities address their stormwater management needs.”
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of more than 30,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. Established in 1928, WEF’s mission is to inspire the water community in pursuit of human and environmental well-being. WEF’s goals are to attract and develop a passionate workforce, cultivate a purpose-driven community to sustainably solve water challenges for all, and lead the transformation to the circular water economy. Learn more at https://www.wef.org.
Contact Steve Dye, Water Environment Federation Legislative Director at email@example.com.
The National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA) is a 501.c.3 established in 2017 to support Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) and address the growing challenge of urban stormwater runoff. NMSA is a coalition representing 25 state stormwater organizations from 9 of the 10 EPA regions with an extended network of over 4,000 regulated stormwater communities. NMSA’s vision is to connect and unite MS4s across the U.S. NMSA seeks to raise the awareness of urban runoff impacts as well as the value of stormwater runoff and stormwater infrastructure as significant positive resources. NMSA advocates for increased funding in the stormwater sector to construct as well as maintain stormwater control measures. For more information, visit www.ms4nmsa.org.
Contact Seth P. Brown, PE, Ph.D., National Municipal Stormwater Alliance Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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