Under a consent decree with the EPA, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) is required to install green infrastructure (GI) in local parks and school properties, and in transportation and public works projects. The goal is to increase the amount of climate-related storm water that is returned to the water table instead of traveling through sewers, where it must be treated for the pollutants it picks up on streets and sidewalks. Returning the water to the water table before it enters the sewer system, where the cost of doing so is on residents, saves residents money and reduces sewer system maintenance and related costs, while also putting more water back into the water cycle.
BWSC estimates that it will take at least 30 years to complete all of the public capital project installations needed in Boston. A trained workforce will be needed to build, inspect and maintain both City and private projects to the new EPA standards. However, few contractors or city employees are specifically trained and certified in green infrastructure construction, maintenance and inspection techniques.
CSNDC staff are now certified to teach the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program, creating an opportunity for CSNDC to create a local job training and certification program that blends green infrastructure development and climate resilience. Our goal is to train and certify local residents, particularly men of color, re-entry citizens, in green infrastructure through a 35-hour class and exam that can help them become gainfully employed, while sustainably improving their neighborhood.
Certifying local residents helps them gain skills that can make them attractive to a number of types of employer, including contractors, green roof installers, and landscapers, while helping reduce neighborhood heat island effect and storm water issues.