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EPA Webinar on Sustainability Planning Highlights Community Buy-In

On September 13th, EPA hosted a webinar on how water and wastewater utilities can engage with various stakeholders in the community to establish sustainability goals that reflect utility and community priorities.  The webinar featured a presentation by Mike Beezhold of Camp, Dresser, and McKee about community stormwater/watershed management planning in the City of Lenexa, KS (the soon-to-be new location of EPA Region 7 Offices).

The City of Lenexa is part of the Kansas City metro area.  They began planning efforts many years ago with a community vision “To balance natural and manmade environment and promote growth and development.”  The city was able to garner support for a 1/8% sales tax increase, along with new fees and other funds, to create new parks and open spaces, implement conservation and preservation efforts, and build green infrastructure corridors.  An evaluation of costs estimated a 25% savings for implementing green infrastructure versus grey infrastructure solutions. The success of their efforts was attributed to extensive educational outreach through community celebrations and activities.  Beezhold highlighted that identifying and documenting goals, as well as transparency and community input for all aspects of planning was critical.

For more information about EPA’s sustainability efforts, go to EPA’s web site at:  http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/index.cfm.  For questions about the webinar, please contact Jim Horne at (202) 564-0571 or horne.james@epa.gov.