Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act Introduced
Shifting Towards Innovative Solutions to Reduce Polluted Runoff
In early October, Mayor Emanuel announced that the City of Chicago would invest $50 million in green stormwater management practices like permeable pavement that work with natural systems, capturing and treating rainwater where it falls. Back in March, Seattle’s Mayor McGinn issued an executive order promoting the use of green infrastructure to treat 700 million gallons of stormwater runoff every year.
These practices offer a cost-effective way to manage our nation’s water that provide multiple economic and environmental benefits to communities by reducing polluted stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, flooding and energy costs while also creating more attractive and livable communities.
As these examples demonstrate, cities across the country are looking to invest in cost-effective approaches to protect clean water, reduce pollution, and provide multiple benefits to communities. From New York City to Lenexa, Kansas, communities across the country are beginning to shift towards innovative practices to manage polluted runoff.
The Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act of 2013
Today, this momentum carried forward to Congress where Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative Donna Edwards (D-MD) demonstrated their support for these forward-thinking approaches by introducing the ‘Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act of 2013.’
This legislation establishes up to five regional Centers of Excellence across the country that will conduct research, provide technical assistance, and provide training on innovative approaches to managing polluted runoff. The bill also makes funding incentives available for the planning and implementation of practices like green roofs and rain gardens and will promote the consistent use of innovative stormwater infrastructure through the Environmental Protection Agency.
As more communities begin to consider alternative approaches to traditional management solutions, this legislation will provide them with the tools to evaluate these practices as well as plan for and implement them to better protect clean water supplies.