Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing $335,000 in technical assistance to five communities to help them develop components of integrated plans for wastewater and stormwater management.
“EPA is committed to helping communities meet their requirements and goals for water projects that benefit public health, the environment, and the local economy,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Integrated planning provides the important flexibility that cities and towns need to address water challenges in an efficient and effective manner.”
Integrated planning lets communities sequence projects so they can start those with the highest priority first. EPA technical assistance will help recipients meet Clean Water Act requirements for water management in a cost-effective and environmentally beneficial way. EPA, states and municipalities have historically focused on meeting each Clean Water Act requirement separately, an approach that may have constrained communities from addressing the most serious water issues first.
In June 2012, EPA issued a framework promoting an integrated planning approach after working closely with state authorities, local governments, water utilities, and environmental groups.
In May 2014, 28 communities responded to EPA’s request for letters of interest in technical assistance. EPA made its decision after evaluating the letters’ consideration of several factors, including human health and water quality challenges, innovative approaches, community and national impacts, and commitment to integrated planning.
The selected communities are:
Burlington, Vt. — The City of Burlington proposed to evaluate its financial capability to fund an integrated stormwater and wastewater program; develop criteria for prioritizing community wastewater and stormwater needs based on social, economic and environmental factors; develop a list of example projects that rank highly based on these criteria; and evaluate innovative methods of pollutant reduction.
Durham, N.H. — The Town of Durham and the University of New Hampshire proposed to evaluate opportunities to consolidate wastewater and stormwater resources, develop a wastewater and stormwater funding strategy, and develop a toolkit for tracking pollutant load contributions and reductions from wastewater and stormwater.
Santa Maria, Calif. — The City of Santa Maria proposed to develop an asset management approach to prioritize investments, identify innovative approaches such as green infrastructure, and identify environmental and public health benefits.
Springfield, Mo. — The City of Springfield, Greene County and City Utilities of Springfield proposed to develop a decision analysis tool to prioritize investments. The tool will identify, characterize and evaluate key pollutants and sources of water pollution.
Onondaga County, N.Y. — The Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection proposed to outline a process to engage stakeholders and identify, evaluate, and select stormwater and wastewater projects.
These five projects will provide examples of how communities can develop integrated plans to address components of Clean Water Act permits. The projects will also provide useful information and transferable tools for other communities interested in integrated planning.
More information is available at http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Integrated-Municipal-Stormwater-and-Wastewater-Plans.cfm.