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Home > Natural Resources > Water Strategies to Preserve Natural Resource Supplies and Quality

Green infrastructure solutions to water pollution

Green infrastructure approaches such as rain-catching roofs and gardens lessen sewer overflows and runoff after storms.

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water shortage and water conservation The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with four environmental organizations is promoting the use of "green infrastructure" approaches, such as rain-catching roofs and gardens, to lessen sewer overflows and runoff after storms.

This collaborative effort among the following agencies assists state, city, and local governments in implementing and evaluating innovative and effective green infrastructure approaches.

  • EPA
  • National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)
  • Association of States
  • Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA)
  • Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
  • Low Impact Development (LID) Center

Through green infrastructure techniques, stormwater and its pollutants are managed using natural systems to help absorb, infiltrate, evaporate, or reuse excess stormwater instead of using traditional infrastructure that collects, stores, and transports water through large, buried sewer systems, explains EPA.

A variety of initiatives are included in the statement of intent. EPA and its partners plan to offer technical assistance, training, and outreach to potential users of green infrastructure, including states, cities, counties, utilities, environmental and public health agencies, engineers, architects, landscape architects, planners, and nongovernmental organizations.

The creation of a Web-based green infrastructure resource center assists communities in complying with requirements for combined sewer overflows and municipal stormwater permits.

EPA also seeks to recognize the most effective and innovative uses of green infrastructure through awards and recognition programs to meet the Clean Water Act goals while making models of green infrastructure techniques available nationwide.

Common Green Infrastructure Approaches

  • Conservation Easements
  • Grassed Swales
  • Green Parking
  • Green Roofs
  • Infiltration Trenches
  • Open Space Design
  • Porous Pavements
  • Protection of Natural Features
  • Rain Gardens/Bioretention
  • Reforestation
  • Riparian Buffers/Forested Buffers
  • Stormwater Wetlands
  • Urban Forestry (Trees and Tree Boxes)
  • Vegetated Filter Strips
  • Low Impact Development (LID) and Other Green Design Strategies
  • On-Lot Treatment (e.g., rain barrels, cisterns, downspout disconnections)
For more information visit EPA's Green Infrastructure Web page.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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