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An Integrated Green Infrastructure Plan to Address Combined Sewer Overflow, Stormwater and Nutrient Reductions in Lancaster City, PA

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The City of Lancaster has developed an integrated approach to reduce the impacts of these pollutant sources through the use of green infrastructure (GI) and is achieving cost savings by integrating GI programs with its core public works practices. Lancaster is seeking to be a model application of the integrated municipal planning and green infrastructure approaches recently espoused in the October 27, 2011 memorandum from US EPA regarding Achieving Water Quality through Integrated Stormwater and Wastewater Plans. The Chesapeake Bay is a high priority for pollutant load reductions required by the revised total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) issued by EPA as well as the President's Executive Order 13508 requiring a new strategy for protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

In addition, the City is updating its long term control plan to reduce the frequency and volume of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and also addressing its stormwater discharges. Key lessons learned in cost savings approaches were identified including a public-private partnership that is cost sharing and conjunctively designing 45 integrated projects for public and private lands and relying on the use of State Revolving Loan funding to partially fund green infrastructure on private property. Private sector engagement in widespread green infrastructure implementation and methods used to advance stormwater utilities and public-private partnerships is a key implementation vehicle being used by the City for reducing wet weather pollution. Case studies were used to evaluate the impact of various revenue requirement scenarios and rebate and credit programs that will be used to incentivize private property owners to implement GI on their property to lower their storm water fee.

A cost effectiveness analysis indicated that the estimated incremental cost for GI (i.e. deducting costs that would be part of other needed improvements) is significantly less than the preliminary cost for gray infrastructure (e.g., large CSO storage tanks). Further, the GI Plan is demonstrating that integrating runoff management into typical public works projects can achieve runoff reduction benefits that are more cost effective than traditional conveyance and storage approaches while also providing community improvements and therefore extending the existing City budgets to accomplish more.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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