Prince George's County Maryland Clean Water Partnership
Until recently, there have been no Community-Based Public-Private Partnerships (CBP3s) developed specifically to meet stormwater management requirements. In March 2015, Prince George's County, Maryland entered into the "first of its kind" innovative 30-year CBP3 agreement, referred to as the Clean Water Partnership . The partnership aims to meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). In accordance with Prince George's County's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Phase I permit, the county is required to retrofit approximately 15,000 acres of uncontrolled impervious surfaces by 2025 at an estimated cost of $ 1.2 billion.
To learn more about the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), please visit:
- EPA's Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) page
- EPA's Stormwater Discharges from Municipal Sources page
The Prince George's County CBP3 business model looks to finance, design, build, operate and maintain (FDBOM) a massive urban stormwater green infrastructure retrofit program. This non-traditional CBP3 is purposefully designed to promote innovation and create a true partnership between the county and the private sector to:
- share financial and legal risks
- drive costs down through technological innovations
- obtain greater efficiencies through market forces
- stimulate economic development by creating new sustainable business opportunities and jobs and building community wealth
The Clean Water Partnership is the first-ever CBP3 model to address stormwater management at such a large scale. Under the terms of the agreement, the county has committed to invest $100 million during the initial three years of the partnership. The funding covers the planning, design and construction of green infrastructure to retrofit 2,000 acres of impervious surfaces. Additionally, there is an option in the partnership to retrofit an additional 2,000 acres after the initial three year term if the county is satisfied with the progress of private entity.
Prince George’s County is primarily taking a green streets approach to achieve the 2,000-acre retrofit through high performance, low impact practices. At the end of the initial three year phase, the county plans to reduce stormwater runoff from 90 percent of storm events by capturing the first one inch of runoff and achieve pollution reductions of up to 50 percent of nitrogen, 40 percent of phosphorus, and 80 percent of sediment. The private partner will fund between 30 to 40 percent of the program costs upfront, enabling project construction to begin sooner and proceed more quickly. The private partner is also responsible for long-term maintenance, which ensures an integrated approach that will maximize the efficiencies and savings for the entire life cycle of the green infrastructure assets. Moreover, both the short- and long-term risks associated with construction and maintenance are effectively transferred from the county to the private partner.
Prince George’s County's Department of the Environment (DoE) is expected to benefit from the partnership by reducing administrative and procurement costs of green infrastructure practices (estimated reductions of 60 to 80 percent) and creating efficiencies only available through private business and market forces. The Clean Water Partnership model is also unique in that it will support local economic development by requiring the use of local and county-based small and minority-owned businesses for 30 to 40 percent of the total project scope. The county is expecting to create an estimated 5,000 jobs as part of its Clean Waters Partnership.
Lessons learned from the Prince George's Clean Water Partnership:
- Early outreach and education to local decision makers, particularly legal and financing officials, is important because a CBP3 presents a new and innovative approach for financing stormwater infrastructure.
- A MS4 permit and a dedicated source of funding (e.g., stormwater utility) create certainty and surety for lending institutions, thereby attracting affordable private financing.
- Highlighting economic development, local business, and job development is an effective incentive to attract investment in green stormwater retrofits.
- Variations of alternative funding approaches (e.g., use of public funds for design and build, with transition to private funds for operation & maintenance, or vice versa) are to be expected.
Additional information on the Prince George's County Clean Water Partnership:
- Prince George's County/Corvias Solutions Clean Water Partnership - Frequently Asked Questions
- "Prince Georges County, Maryland Public Private Partnerships Urban Stormwater Retrofit Model" (PDF)(9 pp, 730 K, About PDF)
- Panel "Prince George's County: A P3 Model for Green Infrastructure"
- NCPPP Exclusive: A Conversation with Corvias Solutions’ Clean Water Partnership Team