Report making recommendations and providing resources for successful operation and maintenance of green stormwater infrastructure.
(2013) By American Rivers and Green for All. Without proper maintenance, any type of infrastructure can lose functionality and ultimately fail. As more communities move towards adopting green infrastructure as a cost-effective approach to manage polluted runoff, it is critical that local governments address barriers to operations and maintenance.
Despite the benefits of green infrastructure, one of the major challenges to adoption of these practices is uncertainty surrounding how they will be maintained. Operations and maintenance has been repeatedly raised as a technical barrier to adoption of green infrastructure and remains a concern for many local governments in the Chesapeake Bay region and across the country less familiar with these approaches. Similar to any type of infrastructure, without appropriate and consistent maintenance, green infrastructure will fail; rain gardens can lose functionality and fail just like a neglected detention pond or a roadway. This report examines some of the major barriers to effective operations and maintenance of green infrastructure practices in the Chesapeake Bay region and identifies strategies and best practices that local governments, practitioners, and other groups are using to develop and improve maintenance practices:
• Financing Operations and Maintenance for Green Infrastructure. One of the primary challenges for effective operations and maintenance of green infrastructure practices is identifying appropriate funding mechanisms. Stormwater utilities offer a consistent and stable stream of funding to pay for maintenance that more equitably links a user fee to impact and can incentivize private investment.
• Lack of Awareness or Poor Public Perception of Green Infrastructure. Some municipalities have struggled with a poor public perception or lack of awareness about green infrastructure practices which can create a barrier to effective maintenance and their overall success.
• Limited Training and Certification in Green Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance Available. Limited opportunities exist for practitioners such as landscape contractors, engineers, or landscape architects to become certified or receive training in operating and maintaining green infrastructure practices. Developing maintenance standards for green infrastructure will create a baseline from which to create tailored trainings and certifications following existing models such as the North Carolina State University’s Best Management Practice Inspection and Maintenance Certification or training programs held by local governments.
• Minimal or Ineffective Enforcement and Inspection Procedures. Without appropriate inspections and enforcement procedures, both green and gray infrastructure practices can lose function and fail. Training and certifications should be developed specifically for inspections of green infra- structure and the applicability of volunteer inspection programs should be considered.