Monday, February 15, 2010
The nonprofit watershed watchdog group American Rivers says federal stimulus dollars are helping to keep storm water out of treatment plants and pollution out of waterways while at the same time creating jobs. American Rivers Associate Director Liz Garland says billions of dollars have been spent on green infrastructure projects aimed at slowing the flow of storm water into rivers and sewage treatment plants through the State Revolving Fund. Money is being spent on green water projects such as building green roofs, laying porous pavement and planting water-absorbing strips of land near developments. Garland says she has heard anecdotally that the projects are creating thousands of temporary jobs but since the data has not yet been compiled there are no hard numbers. She says the projects do not just benefit the businesses that get the upgrades and those employed in installing them. She says by reducing the amount of water that enters waste water treatment plants and reducing the amount of pollution that flows into rivers and lakes the local tax payers see rate savings and everyone can benefit from a cleaner environment. Among the projects funded through the State Revolving Fund is a $1.2 million effort by Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forests to plant trees and install permeable pavers to reduce runoff from parking lots.