On Nov. 12, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) introduced the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act of 2013, which will provide essential tools for communities looking to invest in advanced stormwater strategies to manage polluted runoff and protect clean water. The bills have the potential to provide new jobs, reduce costs and improve the environment. The bills, S. 1677 in the Senate and H.R. 3449 in the House, would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create five regional Centers of Excellence that would conduct research, prepare manuals, and administer outreach and training.

The bills also establish planning and implementation grants to support locally-driven, community-based investments in innovative stormwater infrastructure. It also promotes the incorporation of innovative stormwater infrastructure across EPA policies and programs.

“The Water Environment Federation strongly supports the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act (ISIA),” said Eileen O’Neill, WEF Interim Executive Director. “The impacts of stormwater runoff continue to increase as we develop the landscape, and it is becoming apparent that the use of natural systems, such as green infrastructure, can be an effective and cost-efficient approach to address these impacts.”

In the Senate, the bill was referred to the Environment and Public Works Committee, and in the House, it has been directed to both the Transportation and Infrastructure and the Science, Space, and Technology committees.