2017 Award Winners
City of Dover, NH
"Stormwater Green Infrastructure Innovations & Program Efficiency"
UConn Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR)
"Supporting Connecticut Municipalities Subject to MS4 Regulation"
Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District, ME
"Urban Runoff 5K & Green Neighbor Family Fest"
The city of Dover, NH, and specifically Public Works Deputy Director William (Bill) Boulanger, has worked closely with the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center on the invention of a new style of green infrastructure (GI). Bill worked directly with engineers and researchers to ensure that all the stormwater management systems that were being implemented could not only be maintained with existing equipment but would be affordable and understood by local personnel. To this end, Bill developed no less than three new styles of GI that incorporated water quality and volume reduction benefits while keeping implementation and maintenance costs to a minimum.
The resultant GI styles—a subsurface gravel filter termed the “Boulanginator," a linear infiltration trench, and a filtering catch basin—all incorporate filtration and infiltration unit operations and processes, which are considered vast improvements over the conventional standards of practice. Not only were these designs deemed just as effective as other more widely recognized GI installations, but in most cases, they were installed with common materials and sometimes even recycled excess materials from the city DPW yard.
The result is a programmatic GI program that takes on upgrading drainage infrastructure throughout the city in a more opportunistic, pragmatic way. With this approach old, outdated infrastructure is replaced strategically with up-to-date GI technology. The direct participation of respected and trusted staff like Bill tackles three fundamental problems that are often associated with municipal adoption of innovative stormwater management approaches: compatibility, complexity, and trialability. Or in other words, does it fit the management culture and can local staff adapt the designs for greater utility?
In fact, this is what Bill has accomplished for the city. After successful adoption and adaptation of green stormwater infrastructure, Bill has helped the city implement stormwater innovations that are more effective, better understood, and more economical to implement than previously imagined.
The Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) program, part of the Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) at the University of Connecticut Department of Extension, was funded by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) to provide outreach to Connecticut municipalities subject to new stormwater regulations.
The new Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) regulations have many new requirements related to impervious surfaces and green stormwater infrastructure, and CLEAR's 25-year record of working with communities around the state on stormwater issues has allowed them to hit the ground running.
Besides the direct assistance provided by Amanda Ryan, the key resource is the MS4 website. The website contains a wide variety of information about permit requirements, but the most innovative piece to date is the MS4 mapping tool. The first of its kind, this unique resource allows permittees to have access to all relevant MS4 mapping data for their town, including urban area boundaries, impaired waters (with stormwater impairments highlighted), and impervious surface coverage by basin.
The new MS4 permit requires towns to map the amount of impervious cover in the town, and they are also ultimately required to start disconnecting it from the stormwater system. CLEAR obtained high-resolution impervious cover data for the entire state and summarized the total and different types of impervious cover for each small drainage basin. This mapping information has greatly simplified the calculations that each municipality is required to perform to meet the permit requirements. CLEAR has received many positive comments from municipalities regarding this tool. The ultimate hope is to reduce the work required for towns in gathering information and thereby increase the likelihood that available resources can be used to reduce actual stormwater impacts.
The Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) raises awareness of stormwater pollution and funds to support clean water education programs in local schools through coordination of the annual Urban Runoff 5K and Green Neighbor Family Fest. Named one of the best 5Ks in the U.S. in 2016, these events effectively raise awareness of stormwater issues.
Event marketing efforts include donated television and radio advertisements that promote the events and bring the issue of water pollution to more than 100,000 Maine residents. The Green Neighbor Family Fest, a free community festival that follows the race, includes interactive youth activities about clean water that are provided by local organizations. Visitors are entertained by live music, face painting, and clean water educational programs. The intent of the festival is to provide a fun, educational event for both children and adults.
Since the first race and festival in 2012, nearly 4,000 people have participated in the race and 4,500 people have attended the festival. The events have grossed nearly $250,000 to support clean water education programs that educate the next generation of water stewards. Post-race surveys indicate that clean water and youth education are a compelling reason to participate in the race and festival.
The Urban Runoff 5K is organized on behalf of the Interlocal Stormwater Working Group (ISWG), which is comprised of 14 municipalities in the greater Portland and Saco, Maine, area subject to the Clean Water Act’s MS4 Permit requirements. These events satisfy the permit’s public participation requirements. This collaborative effort results in a far bigger outreach event than if each town developed an event of their own.