EPA develops new planning approach to improve water quality in U.S. cities

Sponsored by

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 28, 2011 -- The U.S. EPA announced today a commitment to using an integrated planning process to help local governments dealing with difficult financial conditions identify opportunities to achieve clean water by controlling and managing releases of wastewater and stormwater runoff more efficiently and cost effectively.

The integrated planning process, outlined in a guidance memo to EPA's regional offices from EPA's Office of Water and Office of Enforcement and Compliance, will help municipalities prioritize infrastructure investments to address the most serious water quality issues and provide flexibility to use innovative, cost-effective stormwater and wastewater management solutions.

"EPA is firmly committed to helping local governments identify opportunities to achieve clean water using a comprehensive integrated planning approach," EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe said. "An integrated approach allows communities to prioritize their investments to address the most serious water issues first and provides flexibility to use innovative, cost-effective storm- and wastewater management solutions -- including green infrastructure."

Aging sewer systems, not designed to handle heavy rain and snowfall in addition to handling the wastewater from growing populations and local industries, can overflow, releasing untreated sewage into waterways, onto city streets or into the basements of homes. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces, including paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment and other pollutants. Overflows and stormwater can carry a variety of harmful pollutants, including bacteria, metals and nutrients that threaten communities' water quality and can contribute to disease outbreaks, beach and shellfish bed closings, flooding, and fishing or swimming advisories.

To better protect water quality, EPA will work with local governments to review the Clean Water Act requirements that each municipality must comply with and look for opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of solutions developed to meet those obligations. This integrated approach will identify efficiencies where more than one water quality issue can be addressed by the same solution and where competing requirements may exist, including how to best make capital investments and meet operation and maintenance requirements.

Integrated planning approaches can also have other benefits, like leading to the identification of innovative, sustainable solutions that improve water quality and enhance community vitality. Green infrastructure, such as green roofs, rain gardens, planter boxes, and permeable pavement, is an example of an integrated solution that can reduce, capture, and treat stormwater runoff at its source before it can reach the sewer system. Green infrastructure provides a cost effective way to reduce overflows and add green space in communities.

Read the EPA memorandum: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/integratedplans.cfm
More information on green infrastructure: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=298

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Global nanofiltration membrane market to reach $445.1M by 2019, study finds

According to a new report published by BCC Research, the global market for nanofiltration membranes is expected to grow to $445.1 million by 2019, with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6 percent.

USGS scientists publish new papers on water resources information

USGS scientists have recently published two separate papers that provide national overviews of the status of USGS water resources information in the context of historical and technical developments in the last half-century.

CH2M HILL earns National Merit Awards for water, wastewater design-build projects

The Design-Build Institute of America has announced the recipients of its 2014 Project/Team Awards, of which two design-build projects from CH2M HILL received National Merit Awards in the Water/Wastewater category.

Study of Gulf Coast Deepwater spill site reveals key to tracking pollutants

Results from a new study of ocean circulation patterns at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have revealed the large role that small-scale ocean currents play in the spread of pollutants, providing new information to help predict movements of oil and other pollutants in the ocean.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA