GAO Report Examines Use of Green Infrastructure for CSO & Stormwater Management

nine(October 31, 2017) – The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report Oct. 30 examining the use of green infrastructure to control urban stormwater, particularly in the context of combined sewer overflows (CSOs).  The report, which was requested by Congress, seeks to describe the extent to which certain municipalities are using green infrastructure approaches, identify what challenges – if any – municipalities are reporting in incorporating green infrastructure, and determine how EPA can better help municipalities use green infrastructure. 

GAO surveyed 31 municipalities from across the country as part of its research, and found 26 of these communities reported that using green infrastructure (GI) was more challenging than using gray infrastructure, especially around operation and maintenance issues.  However, most of these communities also reported their continued use of GI for a variety of other reasons, including better performance under certain circumstances, additional environmental and community benefits, and a desire to pursue green solutions. 

The report also suggested that EPA could help facilitate the use of GI by better documenting agreements on how the Agency, utilities, communities, and other stakeholders will collaborate to ensure GI success.  EPA indicated that it generally agreed with this finding, and that it is working to develop more collaborative long-term GI plans in the near future.