The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a statement of intent today to pursue “green infrastructure” approaches to reduce sewer overflows and storm water pollution.
“We are pleased to join the EPA and our other partners in recognizing that simple solutions like planting green roofs or giving urban trees more room to spread their roots can control some of our worst water pollution,” said NRDC Clean Water Project director Nancy Stoner. “This partnership will help local communities protect and restore polluted waterways, helping preserve one of America’s most important resources for generations to come.”
The agreement – also signed by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA) and the Low Impact Development (LID) Center – formalizes a public-private partnership to help states, cities and local governments implement innovative and effective green infrastructure solutions.
Wet weather pollution, such as storm water pollution and sewer overflows after storms, contributes significantly to contamination of urban and suburban waterways in the United States. Green infrastructure involves the strategic use of soil and plants to trap polluted runoff, restore natural surface and groundwater systems, and prevent contaminants from reaching waterways. Solutions range from vegetated median strips to permeable pavement to rain-catching roofs and gardens.
Green infrastructure provides both a cost-effective and environmentally sound approach to reducing water pollution. It can be used almost anywhere where soil and vegetation can be worked into the urban or suburban landscape.
The impetus for this agreement began with NRDC’s Rooftops to Rivers report, which recognizes forward-thinking communities across the US who are already using green infrastructure approaches to restore their waterways. This new partnership represents an important first step in providing much-need support for additional urban and suburban communities to implement green solutions.