The Clean Watershed Partnership (a partnership of Corvias Solutions and Prince Georges County) and EPA Region III, pilot partner, are committing to perform a benchmarking study of the Prince Georges County Public-Private Partnership program; a pilot of the innovative CBP3 approach to green stormwater infrastructure retrofits.
After piloting the CBP3 approach in Prince Georges County, Maryland, the EPA is seeking to spur nationwide adoption. Due to the nascent nature of this approach, benchmarking the success of the pilot will produce proof points that can compel other communities to adopt the CBP3 framework on the basis of environmental, budgetary, and community benefits.
The purpose of this effort is to establish through results from the pilot the cost-saving and community investment benefits of the new CBP3 approach, which will assist in adoption by other communities. Greater demonstration and widespread adoption of the CBP3 approach will lead to significantly higher rates of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) implementation and resultant water quality improvements in urban areas at a reduced cost; in turn resulting in significant benefits to communities nationwide.
The benchmarking effort will focus on specific metrics outlined in Community-Based Public-Private Partnerships (CBP3s) and Alternative Market-Based Frameworks for Integrated Green Stormwater Infrastructure, the CWP and EPA Region IIIs newly-released guide to the approach based on learnings from the Prince Georges County, Maryland CBP3 pilot program. The involved partners will perform an accounting of jobs developed and provided for local small and minority-owned business as well as mentoring services received for this same sector. The study will also gauge public outreach/engagement success through surveys of community-members. Performance of implementing GSI retrofits (by impervious acres treated) and costs for providing this service will be measured and compared to goals established by the Clean Watershed Partnership versus traditional approaches to stormwater management. The quality/success of GSI implementation will be determined along with performance/efficacy of installed GSI practices and maintenance.
After developing these quantitative proof points through the benchmarking study, the Commitment-makers will share out results nationally through speaking engagements, webcasts, and other public engagement opportunities to educate community decision-makers on the details and benefits of this innovative approach.
The Clean Watershed Partnership, Corvias Solutions, Prince Georges County, and U.S. EPA Region III have clear expertise in the areas of infrastructure financing, P3 programmatic administration, GSI technical knowledge, public outreach/engagement, communications, and policy analysis. The Clean Watershed Partnership will have access to all pertinent data needed for benchmarking, and both Prince Georges County, Corvias Solutions and the U.S. EPA will bring to bear resources needed to provide data analysis and report generation/production.
The action plan for the CBP3 benchmarking efforts is listed below:
10/01/15 12/31/15: Benchmarking will be performed by EPA (contractural support) working with representatives of the Clean Water Partnership (Corvias and PG County) for Year 1 of the Prince Georges County CBP3 program
01/01/16 06/30/16: Benchmarking will be performed for first half of Year 2
03/01/2016: Interim Progress Report Completed and Provided to Partners
07/01/16 12/31/16: Benchmarking will be performed for Year 2
Interim Progress Report Completed and Provided to Partners Due Spring, 2017
01/01/17 06/30/17: Benchmarking will be performed for first half of Year 3
07/01/17 12/31/17: Benchmarking will be performed for Year 3 as well as first phase of the Clean Watershed Partnership program and compared with program goals
01/01/18 03/31/2018: Final report will be developed along with electronic outreach products and a website providing study background, structure, methodology, data and findings
04/01/2018 06/30/2018: Outreach and engagement will occur to disseminate the report findings to communities beyond EPA Region III both in the U.S. and beyond; through webcasts, conferences, workshops, web sites and other communication tools TBD
Stormwater runoff represents the major challenge to this countrys water quality and quantity in the twenty-first century. It has been deemed by US EPA as the fastest growing source of water pollution and calls for a significant amount of effort to retrofit existing deteriorated infrastructure systems in urban areas. Rising coastal waters, an increase in the frequency of localized flooding, and the need for resilience due to changing climatic conditions are additional critical considerations that communities must address. During a time of economic constraints at the local level and limited federal funds, many communities must consider alternative ways to finance, construct, operate, and maintain their stormwater management systems in ways that provide multiple versus singular benefits.
The use of an integrated Green Infrastructure (GI) or green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) retrofit approach based upon volume control can restore water quality and quantity through on-site retention and infiltration and /or rainwater harvesting. Additional benefits include diverse job creation, economic development /revitalization, public health enhancements through air quality improvement, reduced energy costs, while supporting community and watershed resilience for urban and coastal communities. However, inefficiencies and challenges in government procurement and project delivery have so far limited the feasibility of such retrofits.
To help communities meet water management mandates, EPA Region III recently developed a new financing platform for integrated GSI implementation, the Community-Based Public-Private Partnership (CBP3). The CBP3 approach has the potential to significantly reduce costs for, and accelerate the implementation of, urban GSI retrofits.
CBP3s are based on a long-term partnership between public and private entities with a focus on maximizing community benefit. They can be enhanced by market incentives, such as credits and rebates. They can accommodate flexible, stacked public and private financing. Benefits include the creation of significant levels of permanent entry-level local jobs, economic growth/revitalization, enhanced beautification and property values, improved public health and safety conditions, reduction in urban heat-island effects and energy usage, flooding mitigation and improved water quality and quantity conditions. Any savings gained are re-invested into the program to create more GSI investment.
This pilot is being administered by a CBP3 entity, the Clean Watershed Partnership (CWP). CWP has established performance metrics related to project delivery and community benefits, including the goal of retrofitting 2,000 impervious acres within 3 years at a cost below $100,000/ impervious acre (savings of over 30%). To get paid in full, the CWP has yearly escalating goals (30% to 40%) for local small and minority-owned business involvement in the program.