EPA gives Cincinnati the OK to go green

cincinnatiYesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the approval of an innovative plan incorporating green infrastructure for the control of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio.

“This plan is good news for the residents of Cincinnati and for communities along the Ohio River,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Not only will this innovative plan ensure that significant volumes of polluted stormwater and raw sewage are kept out of local waterways, but it will also cost less than more traditional approaches, saving money for ratepayers and the city.”

Under a 2010 consent decree, the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC) was required either to construct a deep tunnel system to alleviate CSOs in many neighborhoods in the city, or to conduct further analyses and propose an alternative plan. MSDGC proposed an alternative plan to EPA in December 2012 that is expected to save more than $150 million (in 2006 dollars) from the original deep-tunnel plan.

This settlement highlights the benefit of using integrated planning approaches and green infrastructure to facilitate sustainable, innovative, and cost-effective solutions to protect human health and improve water quality.

The plan will create a green corridor that will convey stormwater runoff to Mill Creek in the Fairmont neighborhood of Cincinnati and include a floodway to help prevent flooding of local streets, homes and businesses during extreme rain events. The green corridor and constructed channel will be an amenity for the neighborhood and may contribute to neighborhood stabilization and economic revitalization in addition to helping to resolve overflow issues.

For more information about the plan: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/cwa/hamilton.html