Stormwater Legislation to Watch

The Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act of 2013 (HR 3449) would establish three to five Centers of Excellence for Innovative Stormwater Control Infrastructure at institutions throughout the country. HR 3449 defines “innovative stormwater control infrastructure” to mean any stormwater management technique that uses natural or engineered systems that mimic natural processes to infiltrate, evapotranspire, or capture stormwater; and preserves, enhances, or mimics natural hydrology to protect or restore water quality. If passed, the legislation would promote the sharing of information by designating a clearinghouse center to maintain a public database of stormwater infrastructure.

The Centers of Excellence for Innovative Stormwater Control Infrastructure would have six primary purposes:

  • Research innovative stormwater control infrastructure.
  • Develop manuals and establish industry standards on best management practices relating to State, Tribal, local, and commercial innovative stormwater control infrastructure.
  • Develop and administer testing and evaluation protocols to measure and verify the performance of stormwater infrastructure products and practices.
  • Provide information about its research, manuals, and testing/evaluation to the national electronic clearinghouse center.
  • Provide technical assistance and training on infrastructure.
  • Evaluate regulatory and policy issues relating to infrastructure.

The legislation would also provide competitive grant funding to entities that manage stormwater, water resources, or wastewater resources. It specifically notes a desire for the Office of Water to support the establishment of innovative financing mechanisms that advance the implementation of such infrastructure. Representative Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced the bill in November, 2013. HR 3449 has been referred to the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Environment for further review.