Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure is an approach that communities can choose to maintain healthy waters, provide multiple environmental benefits, and support sustainable communities. Unlike single-purpose gray stormwater infrastructure, which uses pipes to dispose of rainwater, green infrastructure uses vegetation and soil to manage 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 much more.

At a time when so much of our infrastructure is in need of replacement or repair and so few communities can foot the bill, we need resilient and affordable solutions that meet many objectives at once. Green infrastructure is one solution. 

Read more at EPA’s website here.

Explore below for information on green infrastructure and case studies from around the country. 

Green Infrastructure: General Information and Planning Tools

EPA’s Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Plans

Today, EPA, States and municipalities often focus on each CWA requirement individually without full consideration of all CWA obligations. This approach may have the unintended consequence of constraining a municipality from addressing its most serious water quality issues first.

An integrated planning process has the potential to identify a prioritized critical path to achieving the water quality objectives of the CWA by identifying efficiencies in implementing competing requirements that arise from separate wastewater and stormwater projects, including capital investments and operation and maintenance requirements. This approach can also lead to more sustainable and comprehensive solutions, such as green infrastructure, that improves water quality as well as supports other quality of life attributes that enhance the vitality of communities. The CWA and implementing regulations, policy and guidance provide the necessary flexibility to implement an integrated planning process.

The integrated planning approach is not about lowering existing regulatory or permitting standards or delaying necessary improvements. Rather, it is intended to be an option provided to help municipalities meet their CWA obligations by optimizing the benefits of their infrastructure improvement investments through the appropriate sequencing of work.

Green Infrastructure Data Quantification and Assessment

This document focuses on monitoring practices and results for bioswales and rain gardens.

Green Values Stormwater Toolbox

The Green Values® Stormwater Toolbox was originally developed primarily for use by planners, engineers and other municipal staff. As a result, we’ve tried to err on the side of giving too much technical information. However, we recognize that individuals are also interested in the benefits of green infrastructure, both for individual sites and to influence public policy.

The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits from the Center for Neighborhood Technology

A broad analysis that is the first to place an economic value on the numerous benefits provided by green infrastructure. Goals: 1- Inform decision-makers and planners about the multiple benefits green infrastructure delivers to communities, 2- guide communities in valuing the benefits of potential green infrastructure investments.

EPA’s Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure Municipal Handbook for Green Streets

This is a very helpful and detailed handbook to aid municipalities in implementing green infrastructure along streets.  Examples are provided from across the country along with additional resources for learning more.

Using Rainwater to Grow Livable Communities Toolbox

This toolbox is designed to help build on your existing green stormwater knowledge and add to the resources already in your possession. Use the resources and information presented here to strengthen your knowledge of BMPs and learn how you can bring these ideas to other groups and use them in your own projects.

3 Rivers Wet Weather Green Infrastructure Resources

You’ll find a variety of green stormwater resources, including information developed specifically for conditions found in Southwestern PA.

 

 

Green Infrastructure: National Case Studies

Throughout the country, municipalities are utilizing green stormwater infrastructure to support combined sewer overflow controls, MS4 requirements, minimize localized flooding, and more.  Some national case studies can be found below.

Philadelphia Water Department’s Green City, Clean Water Program
Learn more about Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Water program.

Lancaster’s Green Infrastructure Program
Learn more about Lancaster’s Green Infrastructure Program.

New York City’s Green Infrastructure Program
Learn more about New York City’s Green Infrastructure program.

Portland, Oregon’s Sustainable Stormwater Management Program
Learn more about Portland’s Sustainable Stormwater Management Program.

Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati’s Project Groundwork
Learn more about MSD’s Project groundwork.

Milwaukee Green Street Stormwater Management
Learn more about Milwaukee’s Green Street Stormwater Management Program.

Seattle Green Stormwater Infrastructure
Learn more about Seattle’s Green Stormwater Program.

Washington, DC’s Stormwater Management Program
Learn more about Washington, DC’s green stormwater initiatives.

Syracuse Save the Rain Program
Learn more about Syracuse’s Save the Rain program.

Cleanwater Nashville
Learn more about the Cleanwater Nashville program.

The Conservation Fund
You can find green infrastructure plans from around the country at this website as well as green infrastructure resources.

Using Rainwater to Grow Livable Communities List of Case Studies
This website has a great collection of green stormwater infrastructure case studies from around the country.

Green roofs are one example of green stormwater infrastructure.

Green roofs are one example of
green stormwater infrastructure.

 

 

Pittsburgh Region Green Infrastructure Initiatives and Information

Green Infrastructure Opportunities for Pittsburgh: Clay Soil

Green Infrastructure Opportunities for Pittsburgh: Abundant and Frequent Rainfall

Green Infrastructure Opportunities for Pittsburgh: Space Constraints

Green Infrastructure Opportunities for Pittsburgh: Steep Slopes

Rainways Tool: An Interactive Tool to Change Your Waterways
This tool is for the ALCOSAN Service area in Allegheny County.  The Property Owner’s Tool will help you find, select, plan, and share green projects for your property that will help reduce runoff and will improve the environmental health of our area.  

3 Rivers Wet Weather

Project 15206
PROJECT 15206 is a collaborative effort between community, government, corporate, academic, and philanthropic leaders to combat these problems by implementing sustainable, highimpact stormwater mitigation installations throughout the City of Pittsburgh’s 15206 zip code in 2014-2015. The goal of the project is to improve water quality and reduce stormwater flows into our region’s combined sewer system, thus preventing flash floods and lowering costs for residents. Led by the Penn State Center, Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc. and the Office of State Senator Ferlo, with support from the City of Pittsburgh, this is an implementation project for the 15206 zip code with the potential to spark related projects across the Pittsburgh area.  

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 Regional Information & Technical Resources

 

Who We Are

Staff
Erin Kepple Adams
Abby Stark

Pennsylvania Stormwater Regulations

State & Federal Water Laws
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Watershed Information and Regional Watershed Conservation Plans

GIS Data Sources

Green Infrastructure

 

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Water Resource Maps
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Act 167 Watersheds

Impaired Waterways by Source
Designated Uses in SPC Region
Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for Impaired Waterways
Population Density
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Municipal Separate Stormwater System (MS4)

SPC Educational Resources

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Glossary

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Free Educational Webinars and Online Training

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SWPA's Homeowner's Guide To Stormwater

Climate Change and Water Resources

Resources for Water Suppliers & Wastewater Managers

Additional Water
Quality Information

NEW! Quick Resource Guide to the MS4 Program

NEW! Quick Resource Guide for Winter Maintenance BMPs

SPC Water Resource Center