Lessons learned from green infrastructure project experience in developing code requirements and community engagement

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Seattle's decade of experience installing Green Infrastructure (GI) projects has provided a substantial knowledge base. Two key areas of growth will be discussed: 1) Key policy issues in the …

Seattle's decade of experience installing Green Infrastructure (GI) projects has provided a substantial knowledge base. Two key areas of growth will be discussed: 1) Key policy issues in the development of the Seattle's Stormwater Code requirement for use of GI to the “maximum extent feasible” for projects on private property and right-of-way, and 2) public engagement success, failures, and proposed approach in moving forward in installing GI in public and private places, including a look at using GI to assist with combined sewer overflows.

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  • Preliminary - Subject to Revision Sounding Board Meeting 1, Version 3
  • Attorney-Client Work Product October 17, 2008 High Level CSO Assessment
  • Attorney-Client Work Product October 17, 2008 High Level CSO Assessment
  • Attorney-Client Work Product October 17, 2008 High Level CSO Assessment
  • Get out into the community early, ideally a minimum of two years before project design meetings begin, and often. Introduce the problem you are trying to solve, before you present the solution.
  • Sounding Board Meeting Jan 25, 2011


  • 1. CWAA ― Urban Water Sustainability Leadership Conference October 4, 2011 Lessons Learned from Green Infrastructure (GI) Project Experience in Developing Code Requirements and Community Engagement
  • 2. Overview
    • Seattle and Seattle’s Green Infrastructure (GI) Program
    • GI in the Right-of-Way
    • Public Involvement to Maximize Success
    • Strategies for Multiple Benefits
  • 3. Presented by: Nancy Ahern, Deputy Director, Seattle Public Utilities Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle’s Green Infrastructure Program
  • 4.
    • Water Supply
  • 5.
    • Manage Solid Waste
  • 6.
    • Urban Drainage and Wastewater
  • 7. Seattle’s Drainage and Wastewater System
    • System Drivers:
      • Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) and Stormwater Permit Compliance
      • Sediment cleanup
      • Urban flooding
      • Water quality
      • Creek habitat
      • Climate change
  • 8. Green Stormwater Infrastructure
    • Integrating into Capital and O&M Programs
      • Analyzed cost/performance of parcel and ROW based strategies
      • Used that analysis in planning
      • Have retrofit 232-acres of Seattle’s creek watersheds to date
    • Incorporation into Code
      • New development must use GI
    • Incorporation into Rate Structure
      • Rate credits for impervious area managed
  • 9. Why Include GI in the Urban Drainage Strategy?
    • Citizen interest:
      • Alternative for right-of-way improvements for informal areas
      • Reducing environmental impacts on Seattle’s receiving water bodies
    • Providing ratepayers cost-effective solutions that maximize social and environmental benefits
    • Helps toward other City goals
      • 2030 Challenge
      • Seattle reLeaf
  • 10. Natural Drainage Systems Building GI Experience and Knowledge Project Project Drainage Area SEA Street #1 2.3 acres NW 110 th Cascade 28 acres Broadview Green Grid 32 acres Pinehurst Green Grid 49 acres High Point 129 acres
  • 11. SPU CSO System
    • 90 permitted CSO outfalls
      • 37 CSO outfalls do not meet CSO requirements
    • 35 CSO storage facilities (8.1 MG)
    • 100-200 million gallons CSO discharged annually
    • About 200 CSO discharge events annually
    • Integration with King County
  • 12. History Sets Context for CSO Control May 4, 2010 - Meeting No. 1
  • 13. CSO Control Approaches CSO Control Relative Cost Range per gallon
    • Green Stormwater Infrastructure
    $2.50 to $22
    • System Retrofits
    $1 to $2
    • Infiltration/Inflow
    $30 to $32
    • Flow Transfer
    site specific
    • Wet Weather Storage
    $12 to $40
    • Wet Weather Treatment
    $8 to $25
  • 14. CSO Reduction: Leading with Green
    • Private parcels: RainWise
    • Alleys: Retrofitted with permeable pavement
    • Roadways: Retrofitted with roadside rain gardens
    Photos Courtesy of T. Tackett (SPU)
  • 15. CSO Compliance with Anticipated Consent Decree Big Pipe Photo Solutions Grey Green
  • 16. Presented by: Tracy Tackett, Green Stormwater Infrastructure Program Manager, Seattle Public Utilities GI in the Right-of-Way
  • 17. Public Rights-of-Ways and Roadside Rain Gardens
  • 18. Potential Seattle & King County Joint GI Implementation Potential Right-of-way Bioretention or Permeable Pavement Seattle CSO Basins King County CSO Basins City Boundary *All KC and SPU uncontrolled basins are under consideration for RainWise
  • 19. Green is Not Always the Silver Bullet
  • 20. Public Sensitivities to Roadside Rain Gardens
    • Reduction in parking availability
    • Perceived safety issues
    • Change in neighborhood aesthetics
    • Resistance to any changes
    • O&M concerns
  • 21. Raingardens not exactly to scale. Parking: How big is a Rain Garden?
  • 22. Policy: Is Participation Voluntary vs. Mandatory?
  • 23. Sensitivities to GI Challenges with Developers or Other Departments
      • Competing needs for space
      • Change in desired aesthetic
      • Cost
  • 24. Citywide Policy
      • What is financial feasibility?
      • Is parking higher or lower priority than stormwater goals?
      • What is our risk tolerance?
  • 25. Has your agency had any push back for adoption of green practices in the ROW? Examples?
    • Discussion Question:
  • 26. Presented by: Jennifer Price, Program Manager, CH2M HILL Public Involvement to Maximize Success
  • 27.
    • Manage expectations
      • Show interim conditions
      • Schedule and adaptation
    • Community concerns are specific
      • Curb and gutter vs. unimproved
      • Importance of street character
      • Duration of residence matters
    • Don’t rely on community meetings alone
    Lessons Learned from the Ballard Community
  • 28. Getting to Informed Consent on GI Projects
    • Engage vs. inform
    • Early and often in process
      • Meaningful engagement for residents in siting and design
    • Transparent decision processes
    • Find common ground
    • Inform about O&M levels of service
  • 29.  
  • 30.
  • 31. Revised Public Involvement Process for GI Projects
    • Introduce CSO problem and solutions by leading with RainWise
    • Use design visualization to demonstrate why GI is a good solution
    • Identify all potential stakeholders
    • Maintain consistent communications
    • Engage stakeholders in multiple benefits
  • 32. GI Project Timeline Feasibility Analysis Internal Site Visits Identify Stakeholders and Policies Update Basin Specific Outreach Plan Field/Site Specific Feasibility Modeling and BMP Sizing
    • Interactive Workshop
    • Project purpose and need
    • Criteria for selection
    Finalize Communications Plan Concept Analysis And Scenario Building
    • Initial Communications
    • Community Briefings
    • Stakeholder Interviews
    • Personalized mailing
    • CSO Community Council
    2-3 months Project Initiation Preliminary Evaluation of Alternatives 3-4 months RainWise Marketing Project Management Public Communications
  • 33. GI Project Timeline Design Electronic or Mail Communication Revise Scenarios 5% Site Plan 2-3 Scenarios Status Updates
    • Interactive Workshop
    • Selected streets
    • Design input
    Electronic or Mail Communication CSO Community Council Meeting Council Briefing Select Option Project Approval Revisit Technical Feasibility as Needed 6 months minimum Detailed Evaluation of Alternatives Design One-on-one Outreach to address concerns On-Site Walks-and-Talks CSO Community Council Meeting
    • Interactive Workshop
    • Design input
    Communications Plan Update Project Management Public Communications 1+ years
  • 34. What strategies or approaches have you used to gain acceptance of a Green Infrastructure project?
    • Discussion Question:
  • 35. Presented by: Peg Staeheli, Principal, SvR Design Company Strategies for Multiple Benefits
  • 36. The quest: How to get more benefit from our public infrastructure investments
  • 37. Permitting Maintenance Finance Taxes/Bonds Local / State/ Federal Private Planning Policy Government Development Pattern Public/Private Delivery Public Crews Private Contract Volunteers Local State Federal Departmental Partners in Process Construction Traditional Alternative Involve Collaborate Communicate
  • 38. Multi-Benefit Solutions- Looking at the Systems
  • 39. GI for CSO Reduction and More Stormwater Goals via Stormwater Code CSO Reduction Bioretention/ Rain Garden Permeable Pavement Rainwater Harvesting/ Detention Cistern Trees Greenroofs
  • 40. Some Examples: How GI Gets You More
    • Significant reduction in total stormwater volume
    • Increased awareness about stormwater and impacts
    • Increased green space (increased walkability, increased habitat)
  • 41. Yale Street Private Development
  • 42.  
  • 43. Bell Street Park From SEAstreet to People Place Bringing it all Together
  • 44.  
  • 45. THREE MOVES: reclaim. elevate. mix. www.depave.org
  • 46. water section: down garden
  • 47.  
  • 48. Winslow Way, Bainbridge Island, WA
  • 49. Winslow Way, Bainbridge Island Strategies for the Multifunctional Street
  • 50.
    • Ensuring walkable space
    • Using Bioretention in several forms with enhanced landscape
    • Permeable pavement – strategic use
    • Manufactured systems when space is tight
    • Retaining mature tree canopy
    • Additional Trees
  • 51.  
  • 52. GI into Northgate Area Comprehensive Planning “ transforming the center’s underutilized, auto-oriented office/retail area into a higher intensity mix of office, retail, and housing … emphasis has been placed on creating new public plazas and parks, and on restoring degraded environmental features .”
  • 53.  
  • 54. Northgate Mall, Seattle WA 2007- 2011
  • 55. Seattle Public Utilities partnered with the Seattle Department of Planning & Development Result: Client Assistance Memo – CAM515 extending the strategy beyond a single project
  • 56. High Point Seattle High Point- SPU’s Successful GI Implementation 2001-2011
  • 57.  
  • 58. How does your agency involve other departments (from Planning through Inspection) in your planning and implementation for Green Infrastructure? Discussion Question:
  • 59. Thank You