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EPA Awards $860,000 to Communities to Reduce Water Pollution, Build Resilience to Climate Change; Fall River, Mass. and Bath, Maine selected for New England Communities

Release Date: 04/30/2014
Contact Information: Emily Zimmerman, 617-918-1037

Boston – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced $860,000 to help 14 communities across the nation expand their use of green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and boost resilience to the impacts of climate change. The funding is 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.

Two New England communities, Fall River, Mass. and Bath, Maine were selected to receive assistance under this program.

“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.”

In the last three years, EPA has provided $2.2 million to 37 communities for green infrastructure. 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.

The two communities in New England are:

• Fall River, Massachusetts – EPA assistance will help with an evaluation and concept design of tree filters to address Combined Sewer Overflows, stormwater, air quality, Urban Heat Island, and adaptation to climate change.

• Bath, Maine - EPA assistance will help produce a feasibility study and conceptual design for a green infrastructure project in order to mitigate flooding and combined sewer overflows while stabilizing and improving the neighborhood.

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.

Fall River will receive $56,000 of technical assistance from EPA to implement a new energy efficiency tree planting initiative. “We are honored to be selected as the only Massachusetts city to receive this federal assistance,” said Mayor Flanagan of Fall River. “This will allow us to reduce the combine sewer overflow into the Taunton River while also expanding the area of tree cover in the City.”

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