EPA Releases ‘Green Infrastructure’ Permitting and Enforcement Factsheets
July 26, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a series of six fact sheets on incorporating green infrastructure measures into National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System wet weather programs.  The series builds upon existing EPA guidance and agreements to describe how EPA and state permitting and enforcement professionals can work with permittees to include green infrastructure measures as part of control programs.

In EPA’s words: 

The Green Infrastructure Permitting and Enforcement Series provides EPA and state permitting and enforcement professionals with a guide to integrating green infrastructure approaches into NPDES wet weather programs. The series consists of six factsheets and four supplements addressing general accountability considerations; CSOs; SSOs; stormwater; TMDLs; and water quality standards.

“Wet weather discharges” refers collectively to point source discharges that result from precipitation events, such as rainfall and snowmelt (e.g., construction site stormwater runoff).

The term “green infrastructure” has been used differently in different contexts.  EPA intends the term “green infrastructure” to generally refer to systems and practices that use or mimic natural processes to infiltrate, evapotranspirate (the return of water to the atmosphere either through evaporation or by plants), or reuse stormwater or runoff on the site where it is generated.  Green infrastructure can be used at a wide range of landscape scales in place of, or in addition to, more traditional stormwater control elements to support the principles of LID (low-impact development), according to EPA.

The factsheets (and other information on EPA’s Green Infrastructure Program) are on EPA’s website – click here.

AGC is very interested in hearing from the AGC membership regarding company experience with green infrastructure, situations in which permitting authorities have required green infrastructure, or general thoughts/concerns about EPA’s program. This is clearly an evolving area in the wet weather arena and your input would be most helpful and appreciated.  Please send your thoughts to Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.org.

EPA announced this week that it is providing nearly a million dollars to help 17 communities expand the use of green infrastructure to improve water quality and benefit communities. The EPA funding is intended to increase incorporation of green infrastructure into stormwater management programs. Click here for more information.

To learn more about how EPA is promoting green infrastructure to manage wet weather impacts in urban areas, log on to EPA’s Green Infrastructure Page.