WASHINGTON – Northern Kentucky's Sanitation District No. 1 received approximately $45,000 in technical assistance Thursday from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The sanitation district serves the fast-growing Boone,Campbell and Kenton counties,and it has felt great pressure to keep up with these counties' burgeoning populations.
Jeff Eger,general manager of Sanitation District No. 1,said the agency is planning to use “green” technology as opposed to “gray,” or old,technology to improve its faculties,rectify problems and develop new sustainable practices.
He said the agency inherited 36 local governments' sewer systems 14 years ago. “They were all in various conditions,none of which were very good,” he said. “Of course,with that were the sanitary sewer overflows and combined server overflows.”
Eger said he wants to increase the use of porous pavement instead of blacktop,which allows water to enter pipes and streams without mixing with pollutants as it often does on blacktop.
He also said he wants to encourage vegetated roofs,a combination of soil and grasses,which capture,hold and clean rainwater before depositing it into pipes. This keeps sewers from overflowing and improves water quality.
“It's not just the pollutants but also storm water that gets into sanitary sewers,and they often aren't always designed to handle that volume of storm water,” Eger said. “So,if we can slow down or prevent that storm water from getting into our system,then we don't have to build bigger systems to keep it from coming out.”
The EPA's award will come in the form of direct assistance as opposed to cash. A team of national experts organized by the EPA and other partners will work with local leaders in Northern Kentucky to develop a specific plan of action.
District No.1 applied for the EPA assistance because it offered technical expertise,Eger said. He said he hopes that both EPA and local experts can work together to find creative solutions that use new green technologies,which are still being developed.
The project will start this summer.
The Campbell County Planning and Zoning Commission,Northern Kentucky Planning Commission and Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers will be involved.
Northern Kentucky University has been holding workshops on what they can do,Eger said.
District No. 1 was one of six U.S. communities to receive assistance through the EPA's Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program. The program was developed in 2005 and annually offers awards to a handful of communities across the country.
Other winners this year include the Atlanta Regional Commission,the California Department of Transportation,Valley Metro Transit in Phoenix and Mesa,Ariz.,and the cities of Denver and Greensboro,N.C.