The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA http://epa.gov) is launching a new strategy to promote the use of green infrastructure by cities and towns to reduce stormwater runoff that pollutes our nation’s streams, creeks, rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Green infrastructure decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems. In addition to protecting Americans’ health by decreasing water pollution, green infrastructure provides many community benefits including increased economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings and increased recreational and green space.
Stormwater is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of polluted stormwater degrade our nation’s rivers, lakes and aquatic habitats and contribute to downstream flooding. Green infrastructure captures and filters pollutants by passing stormwater through soils and retaining it on site. Effective green infrastructure tools and techniques include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems.
As part of the strategy, EPA will work with partners including local governments, watershed groups, tribes and others in 10 cities that have utilized green infrastructure and have plans for additional projects. EPA will encourage and support expanded use of green infrastructure in these cities and highlight them as models for other municipalities around the country.