In 2000, U.S. EPA started an enforcement initiative to require municipalities to remedy chronic dis-investment in sewerage systems.
The resulting “siloed” enforcement approach failed to recognize how U.S. EPA’s regulatory inflexibility was having economic consequences (dis-investment in stormwater and drinking water infrastructure) and environmental consequences (lack of meaningful improvements in water quality). The U.S. Conference of Mayors and other entities entered into a dialogue with U.S. EPA and the Department of Justice to articulate these consequences. U.S. EPA responded with the Integrated Planning Framework (IPF) for wastewater and stormwater master planning and Financial Capability policies.
Since this is a new approach, few communities have initiated integrated plans and only a few are complete. The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) identified the need to complete a gap analysis to help municipalities determine (a) whether to pursue integrated planning and (b) how to address gaps in the tools or information to prepare a successful plan. This presentation will describe the research approach that is being taken, the results of a Community Insights Survey, and some example case studies. Audience questions and input will be used to improve the project outcomes which will include a Users’ Guide (web page) that includes a “top ten” list of what to do and not do; planning tools; data gaps; observations; and other useful elements.