ATLANTA — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Beverly Banister last month joined officials from Clemson University and the city of Aiken to celebrate Aiken’s Green Infrastructure Project kickoff ceremony in Aiken, S.C. The project, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), designed to control the impact of rainwater on the surrounding environment. The ceremony was highlighted with a tour of Sand River and demonstration planting of a rain garden.
“With this innovative project, the city of Aiken is taking a positive step to enhance the city’s environmental health and demonstrate community leadership toward sustainability,” said Banister. “EPA is committed to helping communities through projects that not only create jobs, but also make a demonstrable difference for the environment and public health.”
The city of Aiken received $3.34 million under the ARRA and awarded the Watershed Center two related grants: $293,187 to assist in design of bioswales, rain gardens, permeable paving and other low-impact retrofit practices; and $126,359 to develop a research and monitoring program for Aiken’s green infrastructure that taps into Clemson’s Intelligent River research program. The project enhances the city’s environmental health and demonstrates community leadership toward sustainability. The plan is anticipated to create approximately 25 to 50 local jobs.
The city of Aiken’s Green Infrastructure Project incorporates sustainable development practices to capture and treat stormwater in downtown watersheds. The Clemson University Center for Watershed Excellence in partnership with the city of Aiken and the engineering firm Woolpert Inc. is designing and implementing natural treatment systems that will greatly enhance stormwater infiltration in downtown watersheds. The objective is to reduce the impact of stormwater on nearby Sand River and Hitchcock Woods by returning to the principles of how stormwater was treated decades ago, prior to the introduction of pavement, driveways and other impervious structures.