City of Lancaster Green Infrastructure Plan

City of Lancaster
Lancaster, PA
United States
40° 2' 16.3536" N, 76° 18' 19.8504" W

The City of Lancaster is one of about 770 cities across the country with a combined sewer system that is responsible for contributing about 750 million gallons of polluted water per year (called combined sewer overflows or CSOs) into the Conestoga River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay during heavy rain events.  The City’s long term control plan has envisioned large storage tanks or deep underground tunnels or gray infrastructure to be constructed to manage this stormwater by holding and eventually treating the polluted stormwater at the City’s regional advanced wastewater treatment plant.  Not only was this approach an expensive capital venture to the tune of some $300 million but also would require ongoing operational costs to treat this polluted stormwater at the plant.  As the EPS began embracing green infrastructure as a more cost effective solution to gray infrastructure, the City compiled a task force of municipal and county officials, community members, and DEP and DCNR officials to evaluate the possibility of using green techniques or BMPs to manage the stormwater where it falls.  The real questions 1) can green infrastructure be more cost effective to construct and maintain and will it provide greater benefits to the residents and community as a whole; and 2) can it be accomplished in the 20 to 25 year planning horizon demanded by the EPA to clean up the Chesapeake Bay?  The results of these efforts is the City’s first-ever Green Infrastructure Plan. And the answer to both questions is a resounding YES!

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