Green infrastructure for Stormwater
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

EPA Report Documents Savings-

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report. It found green infrastructure is a cost-effective solution to controlling stormwater. All while providing numerous economic benefits. So the City of Lancaster with EPA sought to quantify the economic benefits. Benefits associated with utilizing green infrastructure.

First of all and to be clear, green infrastructure is specially for controlling stormwater.

The report estimated that within the combined sewer system (CSS) area. That’s Lancaster’s green infrastructure plan reducing gray infrastructure capital costs by $121.7 million. Also reducing wastewater pumping and treatment costs by $661,000 per year. It provides about $2.8 million in energy, air quality, and climate-related benefits annually.

These benefits exceed the costs of implementing green infrastructure. Costs estimated to range from $51.6 million if green infrastructure projects. They integrated into already planned improvements to $94.5 million. All if green infrastructure projects implemented independently.

Unlike single-purpose gray stormwater infrastructure, which uses pipes to dispose of rainwater, green infrastructure uses vegetation and soil. Thereby effectively managing rainwater where it falls. By weaving natural processes into the built environment, green infrastructure provides not only stormwater management, but also flood mitigation, air quality management, and community revitalization.

In 2011, the City of Lancaster released its comprehensive green infrastructure plan. Developed with the assistance of city, county, and state agencies. As a result, the plan identified opportunities for adding green infrastructure. All throughout the city within 5-year and 25-year timeframes. They  estimated water quality benefits and articulated a series of policy, outreach, and technical recommendations.  All for implementing green infrastructure in the city.

Because of the plan and the city’s interest in understanding the added benefits of green infrastructure, EPA selected the City of Lancaster to serve as a case study for calculating the additional environmental, social, and economic benefits.

Lancaster, like hundreds of other cities across the country, has both a combined sewer system (CSS) and a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4).

While the CSS collects both sewage and stormwater. Yes and conveys flow to a wastewater treatment plant. Then the MS4 collects only stormwater runoff and discharges flow directly to receiving streams.

Finally, the report summarized installing green infrastructure in the CSS area. So it could reduce gray infrastructure capital investments. As well as associated wastewater pumping and treatment costs. Plus how installing green infrastructure in both the CSS and MS4 areas produce a range of environmental benefits. All across the city.

In conclusion, a copy of the report can be accessed at this link. (LANCASTER, Pa. – March 4, 2014)

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