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.Â
Green Infrastructure: General Information and Planning Tools
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.
This document focuses on monitoring practices and results for bioswales and rain gardens.
The Green ValuesÂ® 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.
This is a very helpful and detailed handbook to aid municipalities in implementing green infrastructure along streets.Â Examples are provided from across the country along with additional resources for learning more.
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.
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.Â Some national case studies can be found below.
Philadelphia Water Department’s Green City, Clean Water Program
Lancaster’s Green Infrastructure Program
New York City’s Green Infrastructure Program
Portland, Oregon’s Sustainable Stormwater Management Program
Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati’s Project Groundwork
Milwaukee Green Street Stormwater Management
Seattle Green Stormwater Infrastructure
Washington, DC’s Stormwater Management Program
Syracuse Save the Rain Program
The Conservation Fund
Using Rainwater to Grow Livable Communities List of Case Studies
Green roofs are one example of
Pittsburgh Region Green Infrastructure Initiatives and Information
Rainways Tool: An Interactive Tool to Change Your Waterways
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