Reinforcing the Triple Bottom Line: People-Planet-Profits
Henry Ford and his assembly line approach to manufacturing changed the world. By increasing the value of each labor hour and reducing the overall cost of automobiles through standardization of machined parts, Mr. Ford made the car accessible to most Americans. Of course, society did not predict the impact more cars would have on air quality, pedestrian safety, or national infrastructure needs. We did not predict the impact that increased mobility would have on urban growth nor how the extensive network of impervious roadways would affect runoff volume and water quality. In seeking an enhanced profit margin, a domino effect cascaded through the decades forcing us to reconsider what we value most and how to have our cake and eat it too.
The NPDES Program establishes a framework of permits and goals to achieve healthy watersheds and safe recreational environments. Municipalities work with developers and industries to implement NPDES regulations with variable success. This presentation focuses on where the rubber meets the road in achieving compliance and meeting goals through thoughtful planning, design, and implementation of stormwater programs. Collaborative efforts among different stakeholders can result in projects that meet the triple bottom line, now and for the next generations.
When reviewed in context, does each discrete stormwater program hinder or enhance the regional stormwater system? Consider a development that designs a post-construction stormwater drainage system that fails to account for future land use changes zoned and anticipated by the City. Consider an urban BMP retrofit project designed by the City that is undersized as soon as development upstream progresses due to engineered flow constraints. Can regional flood retention methodology work for water quality? This course promotes a review of stormwater programs as a holistic and long-term solution for multiple stakeholders. We know that solving for compliance can also lead to safer waters. However, within the urban environment, BMP selection must consider regional demands on water quality, flooding, costs, aesthetics, recreation, development, and operation and maintenance.
The opportunity an MS4 has in regional planning comes with challenges. Most cities have separate Plan Review departments for private versus capital improvement projects. Are the Plan reviewers well versed in NPDES? In regional water quality goals? In Master Plans for developments? If not, then they can not inform project designs about associated concerns. After review, are City and developer inspectors competent to inspect construction practices? To accept final construction? Does anyone know what the O&M should be? Once built, who is measuring the effectiveness of the designed control? Join us for a review of lessons learned along the way in creating and implementing a regional change to water quality through careful collaborative efforts among multiple stakeholders.