Green Streets: The Road to Clean Water

[music] [thunder and rain] Narrator: In many communities, a pounding rain can be a problem for homeowners and local officials. Rain pours down on hard surfaces, picking up pollutants on the way to local waterways. Some sewer systems that accept both stormwater and sewage can’t handle the volume and overflow into basements and streams. [whoosh, birds chirping] Narrator: The Environmental Protection Agency helps communities turn their main streets into green streets; which not only prevents flooding, but can help combat climate change by using less energy, promoting renewable energy for street lighting, and reducing heat that radiates from hard city surfaces. Dominique Lueckenhoff: Streets typically are used for cars. Green streets; they’re used for cars but also for people. They are attractive, they’re safe, they’re walkable. They also use materials and techniques to capture, treat, and control storm water. Narrator: Porous pavement, as well as rain gardens, vegetated curb areas, and sidewalk trees are among the many green features being applied today. Big cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore, and smaller towns along the Anacostia River are among the communities discovering the benefits. Adam Ortiz: The number one benefit of a green street is a sense of place. What we’ve done here is not just take care of our polluted runoff, but we’ve also created a beautiful streetscape that people appreciate. We have LED lights which are very bright and are energy efficient, lush native vegetation, and also bike-lanes and sidewalks. The street and the town has a facelift and that facelift affects the folks who live on this street, around this street, and the businesses that are here. Jana Davis: The green community actually has lower crime, better livability, people respond better, they say they’re happier. These green infrastructure projects really are an opportunity for a community to become better all around. Narrator: The economy also benefits from a green street. Dominique Lueckenhoff: We say greener, yes we’re talking about the environment and we’re talking about improving, restoring and protecting our water resources. But the green is also the economic green – the dollar. So these approaches enable that community to stimulate and create more jobs that are more sustainable and help generations to come. Narrator: Safer streets, a cleaner environment, and a healthier place to live. Take the road to a green street and make a visible difference in your community. [music fades]

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