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Green Infrastructure


Examples of settled Clean Water Act enforcement cases that include green infrastructure.

Chicago, Illinois

Consent Decree 2014

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is required to implement a detailed Green Infrastructure Program. Where feasible, MWRD will prioritize GI projects where they: (1) will help reduce flooding and basement backups; (2) can be readily accommodated as permanent stormwater control measures, vacant parcels that can be retrofitted into "stormwater parks," which would store and infiltrate or reuse rainfall and runoff and also be an amenity for local residents; and (3) can improve socio-economic conditions in the MWRD service area where the need is greatest, specifically by improving conditions in areas impacted by environmental justice concerns.

EPA’s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Settlement

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Chattanooga, Tennessee

Consent Decree 2013

Under the Consent Decree (CD), Chattanooga is required to submit to EPA a green infrastructure (GI) plan with specific measures to control wet weather flows, including identifying a comprehensive land use policy, a public participation process and an appropriate implementation schedule. The plan is due to EPA 24 months after the effective date of the CD.

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Kansas City, Kansas

Consent Decree 2013

The CD requires the United Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas (UG), to consider GI alternatives in its combined sewer overflow (CSO) and separate sewer overflow (SSO) control plans. UG will identify and prioritize areas that are suitable for the development of GI and may select pilot projects to evaluate the effectiveness of GI measures to reduce overflows. Based on the performance of the pilot projects, Kansas City may propose to replace or supplement existing gray infrastructure controls with GI controls.

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Seattle, Washington

Consent Decree 2013

The CD provides Seattle the opportunity to propose GI projects to reduce or replace gray sewer overflow measures. Seattle has been a leader in GI implementation over the past 10 years and plans to use GI to the maximum extent feasible to reduce CSOs.

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King County, Washington

Consent Decree 2013

The CD provides King County the opportunity to propose GI projects to reduce or replace gray sewer overflow measures. King County plans to utilize GI to address sewer overflows.

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Washington, D.C.

Consent Decree 2005; Partnership Agreement 2012

Under the 2005 CD, D.C. Water was permitted to evaluate GI as an alternate or supplement to structural controls in the Rock Creek and Potomac River drainage areas of the District. D.C. Water has proposed expanding its commitment to the use of GI as a supplement to its investments in a series of tunnels for the control of combined sewer overflows in the District. In 2012, EPA signed a Partnership Agreement with D.C. Water and the District of Columbia to advance GI in D.C. The "Clean Rivers, Green District" agreement outlines collaborative steps to support GI to achieve sustainable stormwater management, more livable communities, and other environmental improvements in the District. The agreement commits the parties to work together to implement a Green Design Challenge to engage private sector participation in demonstrating and advancing GI technology in an urban setting. The agreement also seeks to enlist participation by public and private organizations in a collaborative effort to develop next generation GI designs, and facilitate participation by academic institutions in various aspects of the project.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Partnership Agreement and Administrative Order on Consent 2012

In 2011, the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) entered into a Consent Order and Agreement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to help address their sewer overflow issues. In 2012, EPA and the City of Philadelphia signed a partnership agreement to collaborate on developing GI technologies in Philadelphia including a green design challenge, green streets and next generation techniques. A 2012 Administrative Order on Consent between EPA and the City memorializes Philadelphia's commitments to GI, including its commitment to approximately $1 billion in GI to address stormwater and sewer overflows.

Scranton, Pennsylvania

Consent Decree 2012

Under the CD, the Scranton Sewer Authority (SSA) has committed to undertake a study to evaluate the feasibility of implementing GI measures as part of its CSO controls from the collection system. Upon completion of the study, SSA has the option to evaluate GI as a basis of a future long-term control plan (LTCP) amendment to in order substitute GI for the remedy currently embodied in the LTCP.

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Boston, Massachusetts

Consent Decree 2012

Under the CD, Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) will assess the potential for GI to reduce sewer overflows. The agreement requires BWSC to initiate GI demonstration projects in East Boston's Central Square, Audubon Circle in the Kenmore/Fenway area of the city, and at City Hall Plaza on an expedited schedule. The CD also requires BWSC to control pollutants other than sewage, such as phosphorus and metals, being discharged from its storm drain system and BWSC is required to implement GI best practices to manage these pollutants wherever possible.

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St. Louis, Missouri

Consent Decree 2011

The CD requires the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) to develop a GI program and pilot it for 3 years, and to spend at least $100 million on construction of green infrastructure by 2033. As part of the pilot phase, MSD is installing a variety of GI practices at various scales including lot, block, and neighborhood, focusing on abandoned and blighted properties on the north side of St. Louis. MSD will focus on implementing GI in areas that drain to the Mississippi River and particularly in areas impacted by environmental justice concerns.

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Evansville, Indiana

Consent Decree 2011

The Evansville Water and Sewer Utility Board is currently conducting a study on potential GI mechanisms to incorporate into its Integrated Overflow Control Plan.

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South Bend, Indiana

Consent Decree 2011

South Bend will implement source control measures, including GI, to prevent stormwater from entering the combined sewer system. The CD allows South Bend to request the consideration of a smaller tank, conduit, or interceptor that South Bend is required to construct based on evidence that GI controls have resulted in the reduction of wet weather flows that would have otherwise entered the tank, conduit or interceptor required.

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Cleveland, Ohio

Consent Decree 2010

The CD requires the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) to use GI to capture 44 million gallons of annual CSO discharge and spend $42 million dollars in initial GI investment after completing a GI Feasibility Study. The CD also allows NEORSD the option to propose to build additional GI projects in exchange for reductions in required gray infrastructure. Much of the planned GI in Cleveland will benefit low-income and minority neighborhoods with abundant vacant and abandoned land.

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Kansas City, Missouri

Consent Decree 2010

The CD requires Kansas City to use GI measures in lieu of and in addition to gray controls, beginning with the Middle Blue River 100-acre GI pilot project. After completion of the pilot project, the City will submit a plan for implementation of GI throughout the 744-acre Marlborough neighborhood and, ultimately, throughout the entire system while specifically targeting environmental justice areas. The City anticipates spending at least $114 million in GI investment.

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Akron, Ohio

Consent Decree 2009

The approved LTCP provides Akron the opportunity to propose GI projects to reduce or replace gray sewer overflow measures.

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Hamilton County/Cincinnati, Ohio

Original Consent Decree 2004; Amended 2009

The amended CD allows the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC) the option to propose substitutions of GI for gray infrastructure on a project-by-project basis. The EPA has approved one proposed plan to create a constructed channel and green corridor that will convey stormwater runoff to Mill Creek in the Fairmont neighborhood of Cincinnati. The corridor will also include a floodway that will help prevent flooding of local streets, homes and businesses during extreme rain events. The green corridor and constructed channel will be an amenity for the neighborhood and may contribute to neighborhood stabilization and economic revitalization in addition to helping to resolve overflow issues. The alternate plan is expected to save more than $150 million compared to the original deep-tunnel plan.

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Louisville, Kentucky

Original Consent Decree 2005; Amended 2009

In the approved 2009 CSO LTCP, the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) committed to implementing a series of GI programs including downspout disconnection, residential rain gardens, rain barrels, and green roof incentives. In addition, MSD identified and evaluated 19 initial green demonstration projects including green roofs, green streets, bioswales, rain gardens, permeable alleys and green parking lots. MSD projects an initial overall savings of $40 million for GI controls compared to the same level of CSO control with traditional, gray infrastructure approaches. After implementing and monitoring the initial GI programs and projects, MSD may propose additional GI approaches to downsize or replace proposed gray CSO controls.

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