In 2009, Congress introduced a number of new requirements for projects that receive funds through the CWSRF. One of these requirements was that a certain percentage of CWSRF funds should be utilized in projects that meet the requirements of Green Project Reserve (GPR). The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes Congress’ intent in enacting GPR requirements by declaring that a portion of CWSRF funding be directed toward projects that utilize green or soft-path practices to complement and augment hard or gray infrastructure; adopt practices that reduce the environmental footprint of water and wastewater treatment, collection and distribution; help communities adapt to climate change; enhance water and energy conservation; adopt more sustainable solutions to wet weather flows; and promote innovative approaches to water management problems. Over time, GPR projects could enable communities to take savings derived from reducing water losses and energy consumption, and use them for public health and environmental enhancement. Congress has continued the GPR requirement in the appropriations in each subsequent year.
Entire projects or portions of projects can be eligible as GPR.
There are four categories of GPR :
Green Infrastructure – Green stormwater infrastructure includes a wide array of practices at multiple scales that manage wet weather, and that maintain and restore natural hydrology by infiltrating, evapotranspiring, and harvesting and using stormwater. On a regional scale, green infrastructure is the preservation and restoration of natural landscape features, such as forests and wetlands, coupled with policies such as infill and redevelopment that reduce overall imperviousness in a watershed. On the local scale, green infrastructure consists of site- and neighborhood-specific practices, such as bioretention, trees, green roofs, permeable pavements, and cisterns.
Energy Efficiency – The use of improved technologies and practices to reduce the energy consumption of water quality projects, use energy in a more efficient way, and/or produce/utilize renewable energy.
Water Conservation - The use of improved technologies and practices to deliver equal or better services with less water. Water efficiency encompasses conservation and reuse efforts, as well as water loss reduction and prevention, to protect water resources for the future.
EPA has developed guidance that describes the specific requirements for a project or a portion of a project to be eligible for GPR. EPA last modified the guidance documents in 2012. If a project element is specifically identified in the EPA guidance as being GPR, this element would be considered to be “categorically” eligible as GPR. If a project element is not specifically identified in the GPR guidance, but meets certain GPR criteria presented in the guidance, it may be eligible as GPR. For such project elements, a business case needs to be developed to justify that the element meets the GPR criteria. For 2010 and each subsequent year, EPA requires that all GPR business cases be posted on a website. The business cases for the GPR approved for the New York State CWSRF for 2010 and subsequent years are posted through the links on this webpage. EFC may post updates to the project descriptions and GPR amounts, as necessary.
EFC has chosen to meet the GPR requirements through three avenues: the Green Innovation Grant Program (GIGP), the Integrated Solutions Construction (ISC) grant program, and through identifying features of traditional CWSRF projects that meet the definition of GPR. A complete description of GIGP is presented here, and a complete description of the ISC program is here. All GIGP and ISC projects meet the requirements of GPR. EPA GPR guidance can be found HERE.