FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Springfield is one of 13 communities in the nation that has successfully improved water quality through an integrated planning approach required by a regulatory permit, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Report to Congress on Integrated Plans to Comply with the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2019.
The report, which is required of EPA by Congress, outlines progress using the integrated planning approach to environmental mandates and highlights municipal programs throughout the country.
Other communities included in the report are:
- New Bedford, Massachusetts
- Springfield, Massachusetts
- Richmond, Virginia
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Akron, Ohio
- Columbus, Ohio
- Lima, Ohio
- Boone, Iowa
- Johnson County, Kansas
- Lawrence, Kansas
- Columbia, Missouri
- Seattle, Washington
The City of Springfield, City Utilities and Greene County have collaborated for nearly a decade on the development of Springfield’s Integrated Plan to protect the region’s natural resources in a way that is effective and affordable.
“Our partnership between the City, Greene County and CU has led the nation in the concept of Integrated Planning,” says Environmental Services Director Errin Kemper. “We are continuously refining our analysis, checking the effectiveness of the solutions we develop and reprioritizing when we learn something new. The Integrated Plan ensures we can remain in compliance with regulations while also addressing the specific needs and priorities of our citizens and community. By looking at the ‘big picture’ of environmental compliance, we can provide the greatest environmental benefit in a manner that is affordable to our citizens.”
How does our plan differ from other cities? How is it similar?
Springfield’s Integrated Plan for the Environment takes a holistic approach to environmental needs and prioritizes investments based on the most effective solution to address the most pressing problems that matter most to citizens. Investments in programs such as the City’s Private Sewer Repair program, stormwater detention basin modifications, improvements at the City’s wastewater treatment plants and programs to better monitor and improve the City’s aging sanitary sewer system are examples of solutions found to yield the greatest water quality return for the required level of investment.
The City of Springfield, City Utilities and Greene County coordinate on the development and implementation of the plan across the responsibilities of each agency.
Springfield was a pioneer in the national effort to promote integrated planning and was a key proponent in codifying these concepts into law. Earlier efforts included Springfield’s inclusion in a 2017 report by the National Academy of Public Administration which was chartered by congress and provides expert advice to government leaders. Springfield was also a recipient of an EPA Technical Assistance Grant to help develop a benefits analysis of water resources for use in integrated planning.
According to the report, holistic planning with extensive stakeholder engagement is leading to the following major benefits for the communities highlighted in the report:
- Faster water quality improvements and health protection.
- More cost-effective and affordable infrastructure investments.
- Consideration of investments that support other community objectives.
- Innovative long-term solutions that reduce pollution sources rather than just controlling or treating discharges.
For more information on Springfield’s Integrated Plan for the Environment, visit springfieldintegratedplan.com.
# # #
For media: to arrange an interview, please contact Kristen Milam at [email protected] or call 573-819-3713.