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How Peoria Is Putting Green Infrastructure to Work

Peoria's new stormwater farm takes the pressure off its outdated combined sewer system. It's part of a larger effort by the city to align green infrastructure with social equity goals.
December 12, 2019, 1pm PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Capital Region Water

Peoria, Illinois is home to one of the nation's first stormwater farms, the Well Farm at Voris Field. It was designed "to capture water runoff from a 1.55-acre area, to prevent an estimated 1.3 million gallons of stormwater from entering the city's combined sewer system each year," Emily Nonko writes. In 2019, following a rainy start to the year, about 1.1 million gallons of rainwater were diverted to the farm. 

Prone to overflow, Peoria's combined sewers have yet to comply with the Clean Water Act. "At a local level, formalizing this plan with the EPA will help the city avoid penalties for water pollution. On a larger scale, Peoria wants to show that the 'paradigm shift' from gray to green infrastructure is not only effective but provides opportunities for equity and resiliency," Nonko writes.

Nonko discusses a number of related pilot projects that the city's pursuing to align green infrastructure with social equity, including a green streets program and paid apprenticeships for youth.

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Published on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 in Next City
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