The EPA Awards $400,000 and Introduces Software to Improve Water Quality

Through the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Program (G3), the EPA awarded grants to seven municipalities and nonprofit organizations in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

“Local governments around the country are seeing the benefits of utilizing green infrastructure for controlling stormwater,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “G3 grantees are leading the way—providing valuable examples to others on the road to creating sustainable communities and healthy watersheds.”

“G3 was created in 2011 to support projects that reduce stormwater runoff through the creation of ‘green streets.’ A green street is one that minimizes the environmental impact of a roadway by practices such as reducing the amount of water that is piped directly into streams and rivers; creating rain gardens; installing street tree canopy; using energy efficient lighting; and encouraging pedestrian and bicycle access. Green streets also provide aesthetic and economic benefits.”

“The Chesapeake Bay Trust is pleased to partner with EPA to promote green infrastructure practices that not only improve water quality but also positively benefit local communities,” said Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “Our goal is to leverage gray infrastructure projects that a community already plans to undertake such as roadway reegineering. By adding the green component during the construction process, it minimizes costs while improving results.”

The G3 effort was developed under the President’s Chesapeake Bay Executive Order to provide assistance to communities in urbanized watersheds for reducing stormwater runoff; improving energy conservation; promoting livable communities; and, creating green jobs.

The grants will fund stormwater management and green street development in D.C. along a new section of O Street, NW at the reconstruction site of Dunbar High School. The project will include the installation of 6,125 square feet of bioretention cells that will collect stormwater from the school and surrounding area. The project will also include newly planted trees in large treeboxes where the stormwater will be collected and help avoid sewer backups, a geothermal heat pump, a 500,000 kW photovoltaic array, and two 20,000 gallon cisterns for reusing rainwater.

Other projects include:

• City of Cambridge, Md.: $75,000 for the transformation of an impervious surface area into a landscaped park incorporating native trees and vegetation to reduce stormwater runoff.

• Borough of Northumberland, Pa.: $30,000 to implement new green infrastructure that will address flooding issues in residential areas.

• The Low Impact Development Center, Inc. (two grants): $35,000 for a plan to convert Arapahoe Street in the town of Forest Heights, Md. as part of the town’s goal to be a zero-runoff community; and a $35,000 grant to develop a green street in Bladensburg, Md.

• Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: a $95,000 grant that includes funding for the installation of a green corridor in
the city of Richmond, Va.

• Prince George’s County, Md.: $35,000 to develop cost-effective financial partnerships that will construct and maintain the County’s new water quality infrastructure.

Green projects such as these are excellent ways to get involved as a contractor with your local government or nonprofit organization. All involve construction which has a need for portable restrooms and sweepers to keep the construction site clean.

Software

The EPA has developed a new calculator to help property owners, developers, landscapers, and urban planners make informed land-use decisions to protect local waterways from pollution caused by stormwater runoff.

The calculator is a desktop application that estimates the annual amount of stormwater runoff from a specific site, based on local soil conditions, slope, land cover and historical rainfall records. By entering in a location and selecting different scenarios, users can learn how specific green infrastructure changes can prevent pollution.

“EPA’s research is providing innovative solutions to protect our nation’s water resources,” said Lek Kadeli, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “The Stormwater Calculator demonstrates different types of green infrastructure approaches which can result in protection from flooding, energy savings, improved air quality, increased property values, healthier communities and cost savings for the American people.”

According to a press release, “each year billions of gallons of raw sewage, trash, household chemicals and urban runoff flow into our streams, rivers and lakes. Polluted stormwater runoff can adversely affect plants, animals and people. It also adversely affects our economy—from closed beaches to decreased fishing and hunting in polluted areas. Green infrastructure is an affordable solution to promote healthy waters and support sustainable communities.”

For more information on the National Stormwater Calculator, visit: http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/wswrd/wq/models/swc/

For more information on the G3 program, visit: www.cbtrust.org.

For more information on how to contract with the government, visit: http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/contracting

Story by Jennifer Taylor

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