WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a package of tools to help communities plan long-term strategies for managing stormwater pollution. EPA's tools promote the use of flexible solutions that spur economic growth, stimulate infrastructure investments, and help compliance with environmental requirements.
EPA has released a step-by-step guide to help communities develop long-term stormwater plans, a web-based toolkit for the planning process, and technical assistance for five communities to develop plans as national models. This approach was built on input from states, communities, industry, academia, and nonprofits.
"When communities link the timing and implementation of stormwater projects with broader planning activities, they can reduce costs and support more sustainable local development," says Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Water. "As stormwater increasingly threatens public health and the environment, EPA can help communities integrate stormwater management with broader plans for growing their economies, investing in critical infrastructure and meeting their water quality objectives."
Initially the draft guide will be utilized by five communities selected for $150,000 each in technical assistance to develop long-term stormwater management plans:
Rochester, New Hampshire
Santa Fe, New Mexico
These communities will also be the beta testers for EPA's web-based toolkit, which will be refined and released more broadly next year.
Each year billions of gallons of runoff laden with trash, nutrients, metals, and other pollutants flow into waterways. Stormwater runoff is one of the fastest growing sources of pollution across the country and it can overwhelm wastewater systems and overflow sewers. Many cities have utilized green infrastructure as part of a comprehensive, long-term approach to managing stormwater. Communities are finding the benefits from such approaches go well beyond helping to meet regulatory requirements and actually turn hazards into opportunities. Comprehensive, long-term plans can guide smart investments by tying together multiple community objectives like street improvements, outdoor open spaces, greenways or recreation areas, as well as community revitalization.