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EPA Awards Spartanburg, S.C., Green Infrastructure Assistance to Reduce Water Pollution, Build Resiliency to Climate Change

Release Date: 10/25/2013
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, 404-562-8293 (direct), 404-562-8400 (main), marraccini.davina@epa.gov

ATLANTA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced $400,000 to help six communities across the country, including Spartanburg, S.C., expand their use of green infrastructure. 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.

“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.”

This new funding by EPA 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 resiliency 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.

The six new communities to receive assistance include:

    Spartanburg, S. C. ($65,000) – Assistance will support the development of conceptual designs for green infrastructure practices throughout the Northside Community, a low-income community located in the headwaters of the impaired Fair Forest Creek that is targeted for revitalization.
      Providence, R.I. ($75,000) – Assistance will support the design and construction of up to four public green infrastructure practices, with associated operation and maintenance plans, as well as public outreach efforts to help educate the public about green infrastructure practices.
        Detroit, Mich. ($65,000) – Assistance will help develop a range of green infrastructure alternatives to meet polluted runoff reduction targets and contribute to regional revitalization.
        Lincoln, Neb. ($65,000) – Assistance will help develop a menu of green infrastructure options for the Antelope Creek Watershed Basin Management Plan, which seeks to improve water quality in a highly urbanized creek in the center of the city.
        Gary, Ind. ($65,000) – Assistance will help develop strategies to meet water quality goals through retrofitting underutilized parcels with green infrastructure. EPA assistance may also help develop a green infrastructure jobs training program.
        Pima County, Ariz. ($65,000) – Assistance will help complete a green infrastructure guidance manual addressing selection, design, construction, and maintenance of green infrastructure practices, and assess the costs and multiple benefits of green infrastructure practices in a desert environment.

      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 locationsto 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 on the green infrastructure assistance, progress reports and strategy: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/gi_support.cfm.

      More information on the economic benefits case studies: http://www.epa.gov/nps/lid.

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