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Green Infrastructure Policy: What is green and how do we implement it?

Protect, enhance, preserve, restore. These goals are at the heart of the Green Infrastructure Policy that guides the projects we pursue and helps quantify their benefits to our region.

“The policy demonstrates a commitment,” said Chief Executive Officer Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells. “It lays out a future where green infrastructure is integrated across our program areas to lead the most effective applications of this technology.”

What is green infrastructure?

Definitions of “green infrastructure” can vary across cities and agencies, but the Sewer District embraces two clear definitions as follows:

Project Clean Lake green infrastructure
Related to our 25-year combined sewer overflow consent decree

The range of stormwater control measures that use plant/soil systems, permeable pavement, or stormwater harvest and reuse, to store, infiltrate, or evapotranspirate stormwater and reduce flows to the combined sewer system.

Wet-Weather Program green infrastructure

Stormwater source control measures that store, filter, infiltrate, harvest and reuse, or evapotranspirate stormwater to increase resiliency of infrastructure by reducing stress on wet-weather drainage and collection systems which increase co-benefits in support of healthy environments and strong communities.

Implementing Green

We are committed to actively pursuing opportunities across six program areas to advocate for strategic and cost-effective implementation and maintenance of green infrastructure technologies that protect, preserve, enhance and restore the natural hydrologic function of our region’s watersheds. Further, we seek to maximize the co-benefits provided by green infrastructure projects, including opportunities to expand urban natural areas, enhance air quality, and improve quality of life in Northeast Ohio.

By understanding green infrastructure within these terms, these six program areas allow us to better evaluate and pursue specific opportunities:

1. Capital improvement and Operation & Maintenance

We will implement combined sewer overflow control green infrastructure projects and seek additional opportunities to invest in green infrastructure that enhances sewer infrastructure capacity as District projects advance.

2. Green infrastructure grants

We will partner with communities to promote, implement, and maintain water resource projects through the construction of green infrastructure to remove or detain stormwater from separate or combined sewer systems as such opportunities arise through development activities, neighborhood planning efforts, and other partner-driven projects to expand green infrastructure. Learn more.

3. Member Community Infrastructure Program

We will assess and fund local sewer system improvements in the District’s service area that effectively employ and maintain green infrastructure where appropriate to resolve water quality and quantity issues that impact human health and the environment. Learn more.

4. Water Resource Restoration Sponsorship Program (WRRSP)

We will work with District partners to sponsor projects that protect and improve water quality through preservation and restoration of ecosystem functions in the region’s watersheds, such as floodplain storage, habitat restoration, and stream bank erosion control through participation in the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund program.

5. Code of Regulations Titles III and IV Community Discharge Permits

We will seek opportunities to use green infrastructure where appropriate to reduce stress on separate and combined sewer infrastructure and support permit compliance through the effective implementation of the Community Discharge Permit Program. Learn more.

6. Code of Regulations Title V Regional Stormwater Management

We will advance the comprehensive management of the regional stormwater system to strategically implement and maintain green infrastructure to help achieve a minimum level of service across the District service area to protect public safety, infrastructure and the environment from flooding, erosion, and water quality concerns. Learn more.