WEF, DC Water partner to create green infrastructure certification program

Effort will support sustainable GI projects and spur economic growth

NGICP logoDC Water (Washington, D.C.) and the Water Environment Federation on Feb. 8 announced (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) they are developing a National Green Infrastructure Certification Program. This program, which will be housed within the WEF Stormwater Institute, will certify individuals who install, inspect, and maintain green infrastructure systems. The program also subsequently, will help spur economic development in regions where significant GI investments are being made. Implementing green infrastructure projects in cities and regions not only protects the environment, but also offers economic benefits such as the creation of livable wage jobs for residents and social benefits such as increased community green space.

NGICP seal“Stormwater management is a priority for the District of Columbia and for many cities, not just in the U.S., but all over the world,” said WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “It is increasingly recognized that GI offers an environmentally- and economically-beneficial management option. We’re excited to be working with DC Water and other recognized leaders in stormwater management to devise a national certification program that will support the development of a skilled workforce and the creation of jobs that contribute to sustainable communities.”

WEF will oversee the development of program components such as the policies and procedures, the job analysis, the exam blueprint and database and the curriculum; and DC Water and other partners will offer strategic vision, technical assistance and financial resources, said Stacy Passaro, the program’s manager.

To date, the coalition also includes the Milwaukee (Wis.) Metropolitan Sewerage District.


Meeting CSO requirements and job growth goals

This new certification program “will support DC Water’s recently announced legal agreement to construct large-scale [green infrastructure] to help control combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in the District of Columbia,” according to the press release announcing the program.

In addition to helping reduce CSOs, these green infrastructure projects, which include bioretention including bioswales, planter boxes, curb extensions and rain gardens, pervious pavement, rain barrels, and green roofs, also will provide environmental, social, and economic benefits to Washington, D.C. and other U.S. cities. The program will support DC Water’s commitment to develop a local jobs creation program that includes green infrastructure training and certification opportunities for residents, the release says.

DC Water has a goal to have 51% of new jobs created by its green infrastructure projects filled by district residents. The projects also will engage professional service firms and contractors based in the district, according to the release.

DC Water CEO and General Manager George S. Hawkins said that a “national certification program will ensure DC residents are prepared to work not only on DC Water projects, but it also positions them to benefit from the greater GI industry that is growing nationally.”


Plans underway

The certification will “verify that individuals performing the installation, inspection, and maintenance of green infrastructure have the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to support long-term performance and sustainability of these systems,” according to a WEF press release.

The program will be housed within WEF’s Stormwater Institute. The program’s structure and curriculum are being developed now with the first certifications expected in early 2017.

“Regular recertification will be required, possibly every 2 to 3 years because green infrastructure is evolving so rapidly right now and we want to make sure that certified workers stay current on best practices,” Passaro said. “The exact recertification time frame will be determined by the program’s governing body.”

WEF is building a website that will provide more detailed information about the new certification program as it is developed.

LaShell Stratton-Childers

Tags: , , , ,

5 Responses to “WEF, DC Water partner to create green infrastructure certification program”

  1. Shane McAleer
    March 3, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

    Do you know if there are similar certification programs in other cities, such as Philadelphia?

  2. kerry Frost
    March 4, 2016 at 6:04 am #

    Please find the new water management system and product range called Wateringpipe to help in this area. And hopefully can be certified as the biggest change to green infrastructure in many terms.

  3. Pat Sauer
    May 2, 2016 at 11:33 pm #

    Iowa already has a certification program for designers and installers of Green Infrastructure and those that inspect and maintain practices. Please visit RainscapingIowa.org and IowaStormwater.org I would like to talk with someone from the SW Institute but my call has not been returned.

  4. Natasha Hunter
    December 31, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

    This is so great!

    There are many different levels of greatness here; from green infrastructure, to livably paying jobs, to community… I support what is happening 100%! And as you are working to improve the greater GI industry, I am with you on that as well.

    Thank you, and keep up the great work!


  5. raymond coates
    June 30, 2017 at 5:26 pm #

    I am a rcent participant in the ngicp training course in Washington DC. When I first heard of the effort and who it targeted…I knew I had to entoll. This for me was more than a training it was the first attempt..that I’ve witnessed, by my government to take a focused, sequential effort to reach deep into vulnerable communities with a viable way up. Through out the training I witnessed the dedication of the instructors, community liasons and water authority officials teach us, study with us and hope with us. I am proud to say that today…and I mean today..I learned that I am certified!! It worked and it worked well…..I will continue to support this effort. …YOU GO DC

Leave a Reply