Intra-agency Coordination: Philadelphia’s cost-sharing for decentralized stormwater infrastructure
For the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), building localized “green” stormwater infrastructure on non-utility owned locations and public rights-of-way is an important element in achieving the utility’s stormwater management requirements as laid out in its Long Term Control Plan (named “Green City Clean Waters”) adopted in June 2011.
This raised some novel questions about who was responsible for the installed localized infrastructure. If PWD installs porous pavement on a city street in order to manage stormwater, for example, this surface needs special care when it is plowed for snow. Which agency should bear the cost of this extra service, and what is the most efficient way to provide that service, given that the city department responsible for street maintenance is already out there plowing snow? Similarly, there may be green infrastructure opportunities on land controlled and maintained by Philadelphia’s Parks Department. PWD would build green infrastructure within city park land, but it may require care that differs from the normal Parks Department protocol. Who is responsible for paying for this cost?
In order to help navigate these challenges, and establish agreements on cost-sharing for the maintenance of the green infrastructure, PWD is in the process of developing memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with other city departments to help delineate responsibilities. Under the MOUs, PWD may transfer funds to other city departments to help pay for some or all of the maintenance costs of the localized infrastructure located on that public non-utility property. Check back soon to download a copy of PWD's MOU!
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