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EPA Awards $75,000 to Providence, R.I. to Reduce Water Pollution, Build Resilience to Climate Change

Release Date: 10/25/2013
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - Oct. 25, 2013) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced funding of approximately $75,000 to help Providence, R.I. expand its use of green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and boost resilience to the impacts of climate change. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the new funding in an event with Senator Jack Reed this afternoon the Riverwalk in Providence, RI. The assistance will support the design and construction of up to four public green infrastructure practices with associated operation and maintenance plans. The funding announcement is one of six today in support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which directs federal agencies to identify climate-resilient investments such as agency grants and technical assistance for communities across the country.

“Investing in green infrastructure pays off for our environment and our economy. It reduces water pollution and energy consumption. It creates jobs and boosts local economic activity,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “And these investments help local communities build resilient systems to protect from severe storms, floods, and other impacts of climate change.”

EPA also announced funding for green infrastructure to Detroit, Mich., Lincoln, Neb., Gary, Ind., Pima County, Ariz., and Spartanburg, S.C. This new funding continues the agency’s support for communities using green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and protect human health while increasing economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings, and open space. Green infrastructure builds resilience to the impacts of climate change, particularly by reducing the burden on local water infrastructure.

Green infrastructure decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems. Green infrastructure tools and techniques include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems. Communities are increasingly using innovative green infrastructure to supplement or substitute for “gray” infrastructure such as pipes, filters, and ponds.

In the last two years, EPA has provided $1.35 million to more than 20 communities for green infrastructure. To share lessons learned from green infrastructure projects, EPA is releasing a series of reports highlighting the work of communities that received technical assistance from the agency in 2012, including Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Portland.

EPA has also released a new report analyzing the economic benefits of green infrastructure in 13 locations to help utilities, states, municipalities, and other stormwater professionals understand the potential financial benefits in their communities. Green infrastructure typically can cost less than traditional water infrastructure. Locations in the report include Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. Milwaukee, Wis., Portland, Ore., and West Union, Iowa.

More information:

- Green infrastructure assistance, progress reports and strategy: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/gi_support.cfm
- Economic Benefits case studies:
http://www.epa.gov/nps/lid.