Green infrastructure for stormwater issues offers many benefits

A roadway improvement in Peoria, Illinois, included incorporating a bioswale (left of the roadway) and porous asphalt for a bike path (right of the roadway).

Stormwater issues continue to plague communities across the United States, especially considering the increasing frequency and intensity of rainfall events we are currently experiencing. These events cause flooding in our neighborhood streets, homes and businesses and combined sewer overflows; erosion; and a host of other issues. The repairs or replacements to infrastructure in response to these more frequent events are straining communities and draining them of their limited resources. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) predicts that the average 100-year flood plain will increase 45% by the year 2100 and annual damages from flooding will rise by $750 million. Instead of continuing to exhaust capital and resources to repair or replace damaged infrastructure that will continually fail or need replacement, all of us should look for solutions we can invest in that will address these events and create additional benefits for our communities.

Green infrastructure is one solution that an increasing number of communities are choosing to address stormwater-related issues, because it also has the potential to provide environmental, economic and societal benefits. Green infrastructure manages stormwater as Mother Nature intended by using natural processes to treat, store and manage runoff, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for traditional grey infrastructure. Some examples of green infrastructure solutions include:

Green infrastructure is often associated with higher capital costs, and therefore, is often overlooked. However, many studies and case studies have shown green infrastructure is a more cost-effective solution compared to traditional grey infrastructure. Green infrastructure also can improve water quality, reduce pollutant loading, increase neighborhood aesthetics, improve the quality of life in neighborhoods and provide educational areas that highlight the negative impacts of developing natural areas.

The EPA has developed the Green Infrastructure Wizard, or GIWiz, web application that provides access to planning tools and resources to foster and promote green infrastructure development. It also can provide customized resources based on an individual’s specifications.

Whether your community seeks to address stormwater flooding, reduce flows into combined sewer systems to eliminate combined sewer overflow events, improve water quality or reduce erosion, Hanson can provide green infrastructure solutions and design services to meet your needs.

For more information about green infrastructure, contact Bryce Beckstrom at

Environmental Protection Agency
Posted on November 14, 2019