House, Senate Leaders Introduce Stormwater Legislation

Recently, Sen. Tom Udall (N.Mex.) and Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.) introduced the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act of 2013, which will provide essential tools for communities looking at investing in advanced stormwater strategies to manage polluted runoff and protect clean water.

The Senate (Udall) S.1677 and House (Edwards) HR 3449 bills will establish centers of excellence for innovative stormwater control infrastructure, among other purposes. Polluted runoff carries contaminants into rivers and streams that impact public health as well as reduce the water quality and biotic integrity in receiving waters. Examples of these impacts include beach closures and shutdowns of fisheries. Additionally, increased runoff volumes can lead to more frequent and devastating flood impacts, which can impact private property and public infrastructure.

The new legislation would create regional Centers of Excellence, establish planning and implementation grants to support locally-driven, community-based investments in innovative stormwater infrastructure, and promote the incorporation of innovative stormwater infrastructure across the U.S. EPA?s policies and programs. The legislation already has the support of major water quality associations, including the Water Environment Federation (WEF).

?The Water Environment Federation strongly supports the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act (ISIA),? said Eileen O’Neill, WEF Interim Executive Director. ?The impacts of stormwater runoff continue to increase as we develop the landscape, and it is becoming apparent that the use of natural systems, such as green infrastructure, can be an effective and cost-efficient approach to address these impacts. This legislation, which seeks to establish technical stormwater centers of excellence as well as seek innovative financing solutions to stormwater infrastructure needs, is closely aligned with WEF?s goal of driving innovation in the water sector.? To learn more about WEF?s stormwater program, visit www.wef.org/stormwater.

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