A public conversation is needed to ensure that the people who live in these cities have a say in the solutions being considered.
One approach used by the Camden County Municipal Utility Authority and Camden SMART was a triple bottom line approach that evaluates the implications of green and gray solutions in terms of their ability to provide environmental, social, public health, and other values. Find out more about the Camden case study here.
“Successful collaborations improve outcomes, improve problem solving, broaden options, and build better relationships.”
–New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection website
Municipalities and utilities with combined sewer overflow permits are required to invite members of the affected public to participate in a Supplemental CSO Team.
The Sewage-Free Streets and Rives campaign advocates for municipalities and utilities to include the following in the development and implementation of their plans:
- Fund public participation: Each CSO municipality or sewer utility should allocate the resources needed to engage residents and small businesses in developing and implementing the required CSO Long Term Control Plans.
- Include a public conversation: Each CSO municipality or sewer utility should collaborate with the relevant local group(s) working to address combined sewer issues, known as Supplemental CSO Teams or Municipal Action Teams, to organize at least three well-attended and accessible public meetings on the proposed sewer infrastructure upgrades, so that all voices are heard before the July 2019 evaluation of alternatives report and July 2020 Long Term Control Plans are submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
- Reflect community values: Each CSO municipality or sewer utility should work with local community groups, residents, and small business owners to identify community priorities, and use these priorities to evaluate the solutions being selected in the 2019 evaluation of alternatives report. Before the final plans, known as Long Term Control Plans, are submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for approval, each municipality or sewer utility should provide ample time for residents to review and comment on draft reports, share with the community how their input was incorporated, and include this explanation in its final report.
- Deliver local benefits: Each CSO municipality or sewer utility should describe how its plans will include green infrastructure and deliver specific community benefits — for example, effective flood management, cost savings for residents, local jobs, green spaces for communities, and economic opportunities for local businesses.