One hallmark of CBF is that we never slow down. That’s what gets me up each and every day with excitement
and enthusiasm to work with such a talented staff who never, ever, rest on their laurels.
With all the good news on the Bay’s
improving condition, one might think a
little pause would be acceptable. Time to
catch our breath, right? Not a chance!
So for me, nothing is more stimulating than
walking into a staff briefing to learn what’s
new. Here is just one creative innovation
being pursued for 2017, our 50th year.
Bay Infrastructure Investing,
We have all heard a lot about the need to
invest in infrastructure. Every business
leader knows how wise this is. Now, there
is a lot of political talk about infrastructure
investments as well. That’s good.
In many of the Bay’s cities—from Harrisburg
to Norfolk—a crumbling network of ancient
pipes is discharging raw sewage to our
creeks, rivers, the Bay. Sewage even backs up
onto our streets. The most modern sewage
plants can’t help if the waste never gets there.
Here are the basics. Deteriorating sewage
pipes not only leak out, they leak in as well.
Heavy rains combined with old manhole
covers and backed up storm drains, con-
tribute far more volume in sewage systems.
In a vicious cycle, the overloaded pipes
spring more leaks, releasing more waste to
foul local waters.
Certainly repairs are needed, and the new
emphasis on infrastructure investing is welcome. But if alternative solutions, at lower
cost, can be found, money will be saved and
the disruptions of construction reduced.
Innovation can help through what is being
called “green” infrastructure—planting
trees and restoring wetlands, for example.
There are multiple benefits. Greening our
communities provides immediate relief to
leaking pipes, and it also reduces the
most intractable source of pollution—heav-
ily contaminated stormwater runoff from
urban and suburban streets and parking
lots. Urban greening also improves air qual-
ity, reduces temperature spikes, mitigates
flooding, and simply makes our communi-
ties more livable and beautiful.
And it creates jobs!
Finally, one last bit of good news! Innovation
extends beyond the environmental and community benefits. With financial innovation,
the taxpayer benefits. Using Environmental
Impact Bonds, we can take the burden off
traditional revenue sources.
Sounds like pie-in-the-sky idealism? No. It
is already being used. One of the largest
pilot programs to date, launched by DC
Water with $25 million in tax-exempt bond
financing, will help address a two billion
gallon annual sewage discharge problem
in our nation’s capital. It won the The
Bond Buyer’s 2016 Deal of the Year in NonTraditional Financing.
So stay tuned! Next year promises to be full
of challenges, yes, but one in which CBF
will use every possible innovation to drive
Bay, river, and creek improvements further.
What a great way to cap our first 50 years
and launch the next.
The Bay is Better—CBF Charging Forward
CBF President Will Baker
Greening our communities
relief to leaking pipes,
and it also reduces the
most intractable source