After reading about Clark County’s stormwater management saga, I was left wondering why the fiscal rationale for green infrastructure was being ignored. We are certainly not the first community to face the issue of polluted runoff, and cities across the country, notably the one directly across the Columbia River, are finding innovative, cost-effective ways to solve water-quality challenges. There are plenty of inexpensive ways for Clark County to stem polluted runoff; solutions that have the added benefit of reducing the risk of flooding and creating local jobs.
More than 56,000 Portland homeowners are participating in that city’s Downspout Disconnection Program, keeping over 1 billion gallons of stormwater annually out of the sewer system and saving an estimated $250 million in construction costs. Rather than wasting time with costly legal proceedings fighting the state’s stormwater management system, the county should focus on finding solutions that deliver benefits for the economy and the environment.