Santa Fe gets EPA stormwater pollution management tool

The package will include a step-by-step guide to help the community develop long-term stormwater plans.

Jan 6th, 2017
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SANTA FE, JANUARY 6, 2017 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), New Mexico Environment Department and the city of Santa Fe recently announced the city's receipt of a $150,000 toolkit for managing stormwater pollution. Specifically, the package will include a step-by-step guide to help the community develop long-term stormwater plans, a web-based toolkit for planning and technical assistance for the City to develop a model for other neighboring communities.

"We are taking an approach that was built on input from states, communities, industry, academia and nonprofits," said EPA regional administrator Ron Curry. "These tools will promote the use of flexible solutions that spur economic growth, stimulate infrastructure investments and help compliance with environmental requirements."

"The New Mexico Environment Department's work to preserve, protect, and improve New Mexico's surface water quality for present and future generations includes oversight of stormwater management," said New Mexico Environment Secretary Butch Tongate. "We are pleased to see the City of Santa Fe developing the kinds of practices that will not only enhance regional surface water quality, but may also serve as an example for other communities across New Mexico."

"We are delighted to be working with the EPA and New Mexico Environment Department on this forward-thinking project. This community owes so much of our history and culture to our river, and as mayor I am always looking for ways to work together with those who would restore the river's physical beauty and biodiversity as it creates jobs and honors our heritage," said, Santa Fe Mayor Javier M. Gonzales.

Santa Fe is currently in the process of preparing an integrated plan that would consider many of its environmental responsibilities required by the Clean Water Act, including stormwater management. Both the state of New Mexico and the city of Santa Fe have welcomed the city's selection as pilot community for the use of EPA's tools and technical assistance. The project will be led by EPA, coordinated with the city manager's office and supported by the state.

Santa Fe and the other four pilot communities will serve as the beta testers for EPA's web-based toolkit, which will be refined and released more broadly later this year.

Each year, billions of gallons of runoff laden with trash, nutrients, metals, and other pollutants flow into waterways. Stormwater runoff is one of the fastest growing sources of pollution across the country and it can overwhelm wastewater systems and overflow sewers.

Many cities have utilized green infrastructure as part of a comprehensive, long-term approach to managing stormwater. Communities are finding the benefits from such approaches go well beyond helping to meet regulatory requirements and actually turn hazards into opportunities. Comprehensive, long-term plans can guide smart investments by tying together multiple community objectives like street improvements, outdoor open spaces, greenways or recreation areas, as well as community revitalization.

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