Green roof implementation could help reduce taxes for Grand Rapids residents under recommended fee-based stormwater system.
West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) has produced its latest recommendations from a multi-year study on the future of stormwater management in the City of Grand Rapids, in which green roofs could play a huge role. The report concluded that Grand Rapids has a “special responsibility” to protect the water resources of the Great Lakes. The city has nearly completed a $250 million dollar sewer separation project to reduce overflows of raw sewage into the Grand River. The WMEAC report has brought the issue of stormwater management to the forefront of debate for the City of Grand Rapids. “Stormwater runoff management is now the front line of water pollution prevention in Grand Rapids,” the WMEAC report states. And “since stormwater management is the city’s responsibility, stormwater will continue competing with police, fire and other vital general operating fund services for funding, none of which should be compromised.”
The report gives several recommendations on how to manage the aging infrastructure within the city. One recommendation is to increase the use of green infrastructure. Green infrastructure manages stormwater “on site” and reduces the amount of stormwater runoff that enters the sewer system. Green infrastructure techniques include planting trees, rain gardens, green roofs, and using porous pavements. Under the proposed fee-based stormwater utility, implementation of these green infrastructure techniques would reduce fees payed by users. Users would be taxed on the amount of impervious surfaces on their property and the amount of stormwater runoff that enters the sewers.
The Grand Rapids City Commission is scheduled to review the report on August 28th. The full report by the WMEAC can be viewed at the following link. thewmeacblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/sustainably-managing-stormwater-in-grand-rapids1.pdf