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Effective Green & Gray Infrastructure

Most people are familiar with “gray” water infrastructure — the hard, concrete and metal pipes, holding tanks, pumps, water tunnels, and treatment plants. These systems play a key role in managing drinking water, wastewater and combined-sewer systems.

“Green” infrastructure is a newer approach to stormwater management that mimics nature by capturing stormwater so it can either be reused or seep into the ground where it falls, rather than flowing into underground sewer and storm pipes. Methods for stormwater capture include rain gardens, pervious pavement, planted swales, and storage containers such as cisterns and rain barrels. Green-infrastructure features can help reduce stress on water systems and can provide good local jobs, as well as making the communities where they’re installed healthier and more beautiful.

Both gray and green infrastructure are important components of water infrastructure systems statewide. Communities with combined sewer systems in particular will be evaluating gray- and green-infrastructure approaches to come up with the best combination that meets regulatory requirements cost-effectively and in a manner that provides tangible community benefits.

Resources

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New Jersey A•I•M•S4

New Jersey Advanced and Integrated Menu of Strategies for Sustainable Sewer and Stormwater Systems (NJ A•I•M•S4)

This downloadable resource for sewer and stormwater infrastructure system managers, was developed by Jersey Water Works members to offer a menu of strategies for managing sewer and stormwater systems that achieve better results at lower cost. The guide is flexible, and seeks to offer options for a diverse range of communities and managers of sewer and stormwater infrastructure, who know their enterprise best and can assess the applicability, impact, affordability and political feasibility of each action.

The New Jersey A•I•M•S4 program includes:

Harvesting the Value of Water: Stormwater, Green Infrastructure, and Real Estate

This Urban Land Institute report analyzes the stormwater policy landscape and summarizes various real estate developments that have arisen in response. Real estate case studies from across the country demonstrate a range of stormwater policies, featuring management innovations as well as positive financial, operational or design outcomes.

Harvesting the Value of Water: Stormwater, Green Infrastructure, and Real Estate (Urban Land Institute)

Spurring Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Stormwater Markets

This paper from Natural Resources Defense Council summarizes NRDC’s review of Philadelphia Water Department’s Greened Acre Retrofit Program (GARP). GARP encourages contractors or design and construction firms to compete for limited public grant funding by aggregating and presenting the lowest-cost retrofit opportunities available on private land. The availability of public dollars through GARP is intended to create a competitive green infrastructure market that can help PWD source low-cost stormwater management. NRDC helped PWD evaluate the program structure to make it easier for local firms to submit GARP applications.

Spurring Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Stormwater Markets (Natural Resources Defense Council)

Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement

The green infrastructure guide from the Environmental Protection Agency provides a stepwise approach for building partnerships between stormwater managers and park managers, including information on how to identify and engage partners, build relationships, involve the community, leverage funding opportunities, and identify green infrastructure opportunities. It includes recommendations on the types of projects that are most likely to attract positive attention and funding, and which provide a wide range of benefits.

 

Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement (Environmental Protection Agency)

New Jersey Developers’ Green Infrastructure Guide

The New Jersey Developers’ Green Infrastructure Guide, put together by New Jersey Future and the New Jersey Builders Association addresses basic questions about green stormwater infrastructure: what it is, how it works, what are its costs and benefits, and why it makes good business sense. Green infrastructure is not the perfect solution for every setting or every project, but it is versatile, it is powerful and it’s the future of stormwater management.

 

New Jersey Developers’ Green Infrastructure Guide (New Jersey Future and New Jersey Builders Association)

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