EPA hands out green infrastructure grants

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is providing $950,000 to help 17 communities expand green infrastructure use to improve water quality.

Green infrastructure uses vegetation and soil to manage rainwater where it falls, keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems and waterways in local communities.

The EPA funding is intended to increase the incorporation of green infrastructure into stormwater management programs, protect water quality and provide community benefits, including job creation and neighborhood revitalization.

“Effective stormwater management is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation,” Nancy Stoner, the EPA’s acting assistant administrator for water, said in a statement. “Polluted stormwater can be harmful to the health of our nation’s water bodies.”

EPA is awarding the funds to diverse communities across 16 states. Some communities — such as Beaufort, S.C, and Neosho, Mo. — are small towns in urban growth areas interested in preserving and protecting healthy waterways.

Others, such as Camden, N.J., and Pittsburgh, are large cities interested in adding green infrastructure into their redevelopment projects to restore degraded urban waters and help revitalize their communities.

Communities are increasingly using green infrastructure to supplement or substitute for single-purpose “gray” infrastructure investments such as pipes, filters, and ponds.

In February, the EPA announced the availability of $950,000 in technical assistance to a second set of partner communities to help overcome some of the most common barriers to green infrastructure. EPA received letters of interest from more than 150 communities across the country.

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