On Sept. 18, at the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) annual conference, the Water and Ecosystems Committee unanimously approved a resolution supporting green infrastructure in communities that experience the impacts of stormwater, from those with sewer overflows (both combined and sanitary) to waterways impaired by runoff pollutants.

ECOS outlines many of the benefits of green infrastructure, including reducing energy-intensive wastewater treatment needs and providing flood storage and capacity. In addition, the authors mention that using green infrastructure in Long-Term CSO Control Plans can save communities money while producing additional benefits. ECOS is supportive of many of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) objectives, and many of their recommendations are in line with policy points from the agency’s proposed stormwater rule.

In the resolution, ECOS recommends that EPA and delegated states consider incentives to retain the first inch of rainfall onsite. This will, ECOS writes, “reduce the regulatory and managerial burden on local governments operating separate storm sewer systems.” The document also recommends clear and efficient standards for operation and maintenance of existing stormwater infrastructure. ECOS also encourages retrofits of existing infrastructure to ensure that it continues to function to its full benefit. In terms of funding, the authors also support using private funds alongside public dollars, and they support continued maintenance and monitoring to ensure practices’ effectiveness.

During ECOS’ annual conference, the organization also adopted a resolution urging improved cooperation between EPA and other agencies in reducing nonpoint source pollution.