Green infrastructure considered as potential solution to consent decree costs

This week in Toledo, Ohio, I testified before the City Council urging the city to take a hard look at its long term plan to control sewer overflows – an obvious problem for clean water and river health. American Rivers is playing a lead role to encourage the city to use green infrastructure, which will help the City save money over the long term.  Other areas in Ohio have already negotiated with US EPA to include green infrastructure as an option for compliance within their consent decrees.  Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has just announced their plan to spend $42 million in green infrastructure to capture 44 million gallons of polluted stormwater.  It is our hope that Toledo follows their lead. 

Data for utilizing green infrastructure for combined sewer overflow (CSO) control is currently being collected from a Toledo project on Maywood Ave.  I believe they have begun the necessary steps to prove to US EPA that green infrastructure at a large scale can work in Toledo for CSO control.  We hope that the city can see that green infrastructure could be utilized in other areas of the city where large tunnels are planned and follow through with approaching EPA with their plans.   

Beautifying neighborhoods, creating green space, controlling stormwater runoff, and reducing our need for pipes with green infrastructure to lower sewer rates in the long term seems like a win-win situation to me.

WTVG-TV Toledo ran a story about the possibility of green infrastructure. You can watch it below: