The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) applauds Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) for their leadership and vision in introducing the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act (S.3561) in the U.S. Senate, according to an association press release.

The legislation seeks to increase green infrastructure (GI) in stormwater management by creating a program within EPA to provide resources for the planning and construction of GI projects.

NACWA has long advocated that GI should be integrated and accepted as a core program within EPA. In 2007, NACWA signed the Statement of Intent on Green Infrastructure, which called for a greater collaborative effort to promote GI. Since that time, increasing numbers of NACWA members have implemented GI projects demonstrating their ability to improve water quality and livability at an affordable cost. This needed legislation is a key step toward ensuring that communities are provided regulatory credit for implementing GI solutions that benefit the environment and public health while increasing community livability.

The legislation also seeks to authorize a dedicated source of federal assistance for the planning and implementation of GI projects to help meet challenges posed by stormwater flows, one of the largest and growing sources of pollution entering our nation’s waters.  The recently released 2008 Clean Water Needs Survey, which reflects only a portion of the total need, shows the nation has $42.3 billion in stormwater management needs over the next twenty years. This need will increase dramatically with the finalization of upcoming stormwater regulations. The assistance provided by this legislation will help put worthwhile projects in place that will mitigate pollution from stormwater runoff by retaining that runoff, and its pollutants, at the source and allowing natural processes to remove harmful contaminants.

Kevin Shafer, NACWA President and Executive Director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, applauded the introduction of the Senate bill, stating “I have seen first-hand the water quality benefits of Green Infrastructure projects. NACWA strongly supports the work of Senators Udall and Whitehouse in raising the profile of these important projects and we look forward to helping garner additional support for this effort.”

NACWA represents the interests of more than 300 public agencies and organizations that have made the pursuit of scientifically based, technically sound and cost effective laws and regulations their objective. NACWA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater daily.

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