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EPA in District of Columbia

Green Street in District of Columbia Curbs Harmful Runoff

Stories of Progress in Achieving Healthy Waters

U.S. EPA Region 3 Water Protection Division

Washington, D.C. • February 18, 2016

The name of the block hasn’t been changed to “Oh!” Street, but a revamped section of O Street NW in the District of Columbia is turning heads with green features that are keeping stormwater pollution out of the Anacostia River.

The green facelift was financed through the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) grant program – a joint effort of EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Water Protection Division and the Chesapeake Bay Trust with support from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

In its first five years, the program has provided more than $6 million and leveraged nearly $5.5 million in matching funds for green street design, construction and research. The next round of grants, totaling as much as $700,000, will be awarded in the summer of 2016 for projects throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The goal of the G3 program is to help communities implement sustainability plans that reduce stormwater runoff, increase the number and amount of green spaces in urban areas, improve local and Bay water quality, and enhance the aesthetics and economics of neighborhoods.

In D.C., the 200 block of O Street NW now includes 5,732 square feet of bioretention area made up of 33 individual cells or rain gardens landscaped with hundreds of native plants. The sidewalks are lined with more than 30 trees to aid in the stormwater capture and eventually provide shade to counter the heat island effect of the black asphalt. The project, whose partners include three D.C. departments – Energy & Environment, Transportation and General Services – received $95,000from EPA and over $1 million in matching funds.

In all, the “Green-O-Vation” project is preventing an estimated 40,000 gallons of stormwater from reaching the combined sewer system during every 1.2” rain event, relieving flooding in two adjacent neighborhoods and reducing the likelihood of sewage overflows into the Anacostia River, which connects to the Chesapeake Bay. The project is also serving as a living outdoor classroom for students and faculty at the nearby Dunbar Senior High School, where stormwater management has been integrated into the school’s curriculum.

Map highlighting the location of Washington, D.C.

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