On Sept. 20, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) hosted an invitational conference titled “Municipal Stormwater Infrastructure: Going From Grey to Green.” The meeting included approximately 80 municipal officials, consultants, designers, and other experts and focused on barriers and incentives for implementing green infrastructure. Participants agreed on the importance of federal involvement in providing opportunities for wider implementation of green infrastructure. More work is needed to further the collection of data and technical resources and to disseminate information to water professionals, elected officials, decision-makers, and the public.

CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe provided opening remarks. The meeting included two panels, one moderated by Water Environment Federation (WEF) Executive Director Jeff Eger and the other moderated by Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Executive Director Kevin Shafer. The panels spurred discussion about various implementation and funding challenges. Meeting participants, including WEF Stormwater Committee Chair Michael Beezhold, worked in small groups to develop lists of barriers to mainstreaming green infrastructure implementation, along with a series of recommendations on how to overcome the identified challenges.

A document describing barriers to green infrastructure implementation, developed for EPA by WEF in 2011, served as a key resource for these discussions. A summary report will be made available later this year, and WEF will announce the document when it is available. For more information, check out this blog post by WEF’s Stormwater Program and Policy Manager, Seth Brown.