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EPA to Assist Camden, New Jersey Community Group to Reduce Water Pollution

Release Date: 07/19/2012
Contact Information: John Martin (212) 637- 3662,

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the Cooper’s Ferry Partnership in Camden, New Jersey has been selected to receive $70,000 worth of technical assistance to advance projects aimed at reducing water pollution in Camden. The EPA will provide the assistance to help estimate the benefits of the Camden SMART (Stormwater Management And Resource Training) Initiative. The SMART Initiative is a joint project by the city of Camden, the Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority and other community partners to develop a network of green infrastructure programs and projects throughout the city. Green infrastructure captures and filters pollutants by passing stormwater through soils and retaining it on site. Camden is one of just 17 communities receiving such assistance from the EPA this year.

      “Camden’s SMART Initiative is a smart way to fight water pollution and make the local economy stronger,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “By working together, we can make our urban communities cleaner and more livable. I commend the Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and this initiative’s other partners for leading the way to a sustainable and revitalized Camden.”

      Controlling stormwater is one of the most widespread challenges faced by communities across the country. Large volumes of polluted stormwater degrade our nation’s rivers, lakes, and aquatic habitats and contribute to downstream flooding. Communities are increasingly using green infrastructure to supplement or substitute for single-purpose “gray” infrastructure investments such as pipes, filters, and ponds. Effective green infrastructure tools and techniques include green roofs, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens, and rain harvesting systems.

      The SMART Initiative is an effort to restore and revitalize Camden through efficient stormwater management. In less than one year, Camden has planted eleven rain gardens and has developed plans for 20-40 more. Camden SMART has organized and hosted a series of stormwater management education and information sessions with residents and produced literature on sound stormwater management practices. Additionally, the initiative has supported the removal of impervious surfaces such as blacktop to plant hundreds of street trees throughout Camden.

      Under the partnership announced today, the EPA will help complete an assessment of the water quality, air quality, and brownfield remediation benefits, and the flooding mitigation potential of the SMART Initiative. The EPA will additionally help Camden SMART conduct an assessment of the barriers posed by local codes and permitting processes for various green infrastructure projects. The EPA will also help Camden identify appropriate green infrastructure practices for brownfield sites and other sites that pose potential challenges for the implementation of green infrastructure.

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