DC Water commits to developing the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP), which will develop training programs and certification criteria for workers performing construction, operation, and maintenance of Green Infrastructure (GI). This standard will ensure competent GI staff while providing livable wages, professional growth, and job portability. Additionally, it will raise the level of professionalism in the sector for those who construct, inspect, and maintain GI through a robust, national, green infrastructure training and certification program. The certification program will develop need-to-know criteria, curriculum, exams, website, and certification tracking. NGICP will support jobs that produce a living wage for the underserved in local Washington, D.C. communities and standardize the construction, operation, and maintenance of GI to improve water quality.
DC Water has collaborated with the Water Environment Federation (WEF) to develop the program. WEF provides education opportunities for many aspects of the water and wastewater industry including wastewater operator training courses and certifications, a growing library of technical publications, online courses, e-newsletters, and webcasts.
DC Water will provide approximately $1 million to fund development of NGICP. DC Water has also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the District of Columbia (District) with a goal that 51% of new hires for construction, operation, and maintenance of GI will be District residents with companion goals for utilizing certified individuals to perform the construction, operation, and maintenance of GI.
In addition, commitments have been made by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District; Montgomery County, Maryland; Kansas City, Missouri, Water Services Department; Fairfax County, Virginia; City of Baltimore Department of Public Works; Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District; San Francisco Public Utilities Commission; and the Capital Region Water (Harrisburg, PA) to fund the program at $50,000 each and to serve on the Strategic Advisory Group and the Technical Advisory Group.
The estimated schedule for development of the NGICP is as follows:
Develop GI Certification Exam December 31, 2016
First Certification Exam Conducted January 31, 2017
Second Certification Exam Conducted August 31, 2017
Monthly status updates will be prepared by DC Waters contractor (WEF).
Stormwater runoff is a major pollution source that negatively affects water quality in the United States and abroad. Green infrastructure (GI) uses vegetation and soil to manage stormwater where it falls. Examples of GI include rain gardens, green roofs, porous pavement and other technologies. GI has the ability to reduce stormwater runoff and provides multiple environmental, social, and economic benefits. Examples of these benefits include improved air quality, reduction in heat island effects, improved property values, and local job creation. GI can be used to control both stormwater runoff in separate sewer systems and combined sewer overflow in combined systems commonly found in older cities.
As part of its Consent Decree requirement to control combined sewer overflows in the District of Columbia (District), DC Water is required to construct GI to manage approximately 500 impervious acres in the District. DC Water also has significant technical and management expertise in GI to support development of the certification. WEF is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with member associations worldwide dedicated to serving the water, wastewater, and stormwater industry.
DC Water is seeking partner organizations, with a minimum financial commitment of $50,000 each. The standards for the NGICP will be set based upon input from people directly involved in GI installation, inspection and maintenance working in various regions of the country. Partner utilities will have direct opportunities to contribute materials and experience and ensure their lessons learned are considered in the development of the national program. Partner organizations will each have a position on a Strategic Advisory Group and a Technical Advisory Group, and will have the opportunity to guide the NGICP to meet local needs. Partner organizations can also have local candidates be part of the inaugural certification exam.
DC Water has collaborated with the Water Environment Federation (WEF) to develop the program and certify individuals who construct, inspect, and maintain GI. DC Water is offering opportunities for partner agencies to fund and be involved in the development of the NGICP, which would then allow those communities to use the certification program in their communities.