Stormwater control projects in WA to get funding

OLYMPIA, WA, Jan. 20, 2011 -- The Washington State Department of Ecology has announced the list of 43 cities and counties that will get a share of $23.4 million to plan, design and build stormwater retrofit and low-impact development facility projects...

OLYMPIA, WA, Jan. 20, 2011 -- The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) has announced the list of 43 cities and counties that will get a share of $23.4 million to plan, design and build stormwater retrofit and low-impact development facility projects.

The Fiscal Year 2011 Stormwater Retrofit and LID (low-impact development) Competitive Grants grant program was available to cities, counties and ports covered by the state's municipal stormwater permit. The permit requires the most populated municipalities to manage their polluted runoff, which is the biggest threat to Washington's lakes, rivers and Puget Sound.

"These needed projects will help protect our streams, lakes and Puget Sound from polluted stormwater runoff, and they will provide jobs that kick-start local economies," said Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant. "It's one of the many ways that Ecology supports environmental projects in local communities."

Gerry O'Keefe, Puget Sound Partnership Acting Executive Director said, "This money, and the projects it will support, is a big step in the right direction for Puget Sound. Our local partners deserve credit for their innovation in addressing stormwater challenges. The funding represents commitment for recovery of Puget Sound by the Department of Ecology and the Legislature, consistent with the Governor's priority."

Ecology received 101 applications adding up to $59.5 million in requests, signifying a greater need than the $23.4 million program could meet.

The $23.4 million grant program is the second half of $54 million appropriated by the 2010 Legislature to assist local governments with stormwater needs. It was derived from the state building construction account.

Earlier in 2010, Ecology distributed the first half of the funding -- $23.5 million -- to all 116 municipalities subject to municipal stormwater regulations in the Municipal Stormwater Capacity Grants Program. The funding was directed by the Legislature to assist local governments build staffing capacity, improve stormwater research, data management capabilities, and water quality monitoring. Twenty-one of the grant recipients are using the money for stormwater facility construction, which includes retrofit of existing facilities and low-impact development techniques.

List of municipalities receiving these funds > http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/funding/FundingPrograms/OtherFundingPrograms/StWa12/FY12MunSWOfferList.pdf

List of cities and counties getting the Stormwater Retrofit and LID Competitive Grants > http://www.ecy.wa.gov/biblio/1110008.html

More about the $54 million stormwater grant program and map pinpointing locations of investments > www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/funding/FundingPrograms/OtherFundingPrograms/StWa12/FY12StWa.html

Since 2005, local governments have received $105 million for stormwater needs from state funding and from the federal 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

What are stormwater retrofit projects?
Stormwater retrofit projects correct deficiencies in older, existing stormwater infrastructure in urban areas. The projects might reduce stormwater contamination, reduce high stormwater flows, or both. Many retrofit projects use low-impact development techniques.

What is low-impact development?
Low-impact development projects use vegetation, healthy soils, porous pavement, dispersion and other infiltration techniques to manage stormwater close to where it originates. LID projects result in fewer hard surfaces, less runoff, and more infiltration. The result is less polluted runoff that is managed in smaller, decentralized stormwater facilities. In some cases, centralized stormwater facilities such as ponds may not be necessary. Examples of LID techniques include rain gardens, permeable pavement, vegetated roofs, reverse-slope sidewalks and rainwater-harvest projects.

Ecology support for community projects
Approximately 62 percent of Ecology's budget is passed through to local communities to address public health and environmental projects that create local jobs and support ongoing economic activity.

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