(BLOOMINGTON) – City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU) invites homeowners interested in building environmentally-friendly features to improve stormwater management to apply for small grants to defray their costs.
The inaugural residential stormwater grants program will distribute a total of approximately $35,000 in small grants to homeowners to help offset the cost of building green stormwater infrastructure projects on their property. CBU will host a public informational meeting about the grant application process and project requirements on Monday, March 18, at 6 p.m. at the CBU Service Center, 600 E Miller Drive.
Funding for the grants comes from the stormwater fee increase approved by City Council last month. Approximately one-quarter of the revenue generated by the fee increase will finance green infrastructure projects including small projects on private property that will contribute to improved stormwater management in neighborhoods. The goal of green stormwater infrastructure is to slow the water down, allowing for more filtration and removal of pollutants from the water before it enters our storm drains. Examples of projects CBU expects to receive for the grant program include rain gardens, detention/retention pond maintenance or retrofitting, vegetated swales, or even driveway culvert replacements. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate that the project area has a history of drainage or soil erosion issues. Currently, projects are limited to single-family residential properties; and multiple homeowners may apply for a single project together.
These projects are expected to improve the management of stormwater, which is water that flows over land from rainfall or snowmelt before it enters natural waterways. In Bloomington, much of the stormwater is captured by the conveyance infrastructure known as the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, or MS4, before being discharged to streams. Localized flooding can occur when the MS4 infrastructure receives more water than it can accommodate in a short period of time. In addition, the water that flows into storm drains and through the MS4 does not get treated and, as such, has the potential to transport pollutants from the urban landscape directly into local streams.
“Residential projects are a key component in the comprehensive approach to stormwater management the increased rates will allow the City to take,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “We appreciate our water customers and Council for recognizing the need to improve our infrastructure in a way that is environmentally responsible, and applaud the property owners who are tackling projects to manage drainage in their neighborhood more effectively.”
CBU is requesting applicants submit a letter of intent, including a brief description of their proposed project, by 4 p.m. on Monday, April 1, to City of Bloomington Utilities, Attn: MS4 Coordinator, 600 E Miller Drive, Bloomington, IN 47401, or email email@example.com. Applications will be due by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1. An appointed committee, including members of the public, will rank applications, and decide which projects to fund and how much funding they will receive; projects will be ranked and selected based on their potential to improve drainage and reduce the number of pollutants discharged into our waterways.