EPA and District of Columbia Agree to Protect Rivers from Stormwater Runoff

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a landmark agreement with the District of Columbia to implement major green infrastructure enhancements to protect the Potomac and Anacostia rivers from storm water runoff.

In modifications to a Clean Water Act permit, the District has agreed to undertake innovative measures to stem stormwater flow and pollution, using natural systems such as trees, green roofs, and vegetated buffers. 

"This is the most advanced set of green infrastructure controls for urban storm water that we have seen in the Mid-Atlantic Region.  The District’s commitment to employ sustainable, and measurable solutions for wet weather pollution demonstrates leadership for the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said EPA Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh.

Highlights of the new measures include:

• Planting and maintaining at least 13,500 additional trees.

• Devising a low impact development plan which will include converting paved areas such as median strips and large sidewalks into green space

• Creating a tax-incentive plan for the installation of green roofs. 

• Requiring all new District-owned buildings and, where feasible, all major renovations of District-owned buildings to include green roofs.

• Implementing enhanced street sweeping and trash removal programs.

• Installing 50 rain gardens and 125 rain barrels.

The enhancements to the storm water controls and management practices were outlined by District government in a letter to EPA Region 3 on November 27, 2007.  These improvements are being incorporated into a Municipal Storm Water Permit being renewed for the City by EPA. 

For a prerecorded 14-second sound bite, go to: http://www.epa.gov/region03/radionews.htm.

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