Authored Articles & Publications Jul 21, 2015

Community-Based P3 Programs for Integrated Green Stormwater Infrastructure

By Seth Merewitz

Partnerships between the public and private sector can help improve and sustain the ability of local governments to design, construct, finance, operate and maintain various infrastructure.

Over the past few years the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has led a roundtable with the private sector to discuss using public-private partnerships (P3s) to assist municipalities in the procurement of stormwater retrofit programs using green infrastructure.

The EPA recently released a report, Community Based Public-Private Partnerships (CBP3s) and Alternative Market-Based Tools for Integrated Green Stormwater Infrastructure: A Guide for Local Governments. The report concludes that, while many of the traditional point sources of water pollution have been addressed by the Clean Water Act, urbanization and suburbanization have created increased impervious cover, leading to more stormwater runoff — a major cause of poor water quality. However, the management and related expense of controlling stormwater runoff is a significant burden to many municipalities.

This guide provides municipalities the tools to review the capacity and potential to develop a CBP3 program to help fund and manage stormwater regulatory commitments. Included in the guide are:

  • A summary of using CBP3s targeted at municipal program managers and elected officials
  • Key considerations to look at before partnering with private business, including a partnership checklist
  • Steps to developing a CBP3 program

If a CBP3 program appears appropriate for a municipality, a balanced partnership can:

  • Allocate the responsibility to the party best positioned to control the activity and manage the risks
  • Produce local economic value through private sector participation
  • Solve a costly, complex public problem with faster, less expensive solutions and better outcomes
  • Substitute private resources for limited public resources
  • Drive innovation and operational efficiencies, ultimately lowering future costs
  • Enhance the community’s involvement and participation in municipal functions

Note: This article originally appeared on the now-defunct BBKnowledge blog, where Best Best & Krieger authors shared their knowledge on emerging issues in public agency law.

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