New program champions investment in green infrastructure

Jan. 14, 2021
NMSA’s new Center of Excellence for Community Based Public-Private Partnerships focuses on municipalities overburdened with growing demands to implement stormwater management controls.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA), a national nonprofit focused on the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) sector, is providing leadership in performance-based project delivery for integrated green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) and other environmental infrastructure through the launch of the Community-Based Public-Private Partnership (CBP3) Center for Water, Energy and Equitable Economic Resilience.

To visit the Center, please go to:

To learn more about available CBP3 technical support, municipal staff should go to and apply for this support by February 10, 2021.

This new Center of Excellence is a perfect fit for NMSA as applications of the CBP3 program approach have proven to be successful in the context of municipal stormwater programs at various locations around the country. The basis for the CBP3 program methodology is to scale up investments in integrated GSI through an approach that bundles tens, hundreds, or thousands of individual projects into a single programmatic framework that is led by a public-private entity in a performance-based contractual arrangement using a fixed-cost basis for project implementation.

While this approach has been focused on GSI, it is applicable to other types of environmental infrastructure as well. Dr. Barry Liner, Chief Technical Officer at the Water Environment Federation, addressed this point when noting that, “The nexus between differing infrastructure sectors, such as water and energy, provide opportunities for holistic and high-valued investments. Innovative technologies that drive multi-benefit solutions are well-suited to address the infrastructure challenges of today. The CBP3 program approach was developed to provide communities with a platform to deliver exactly these types of Triple Bottom Line solutions, and the CBP3 Center is well-positioned to be a place where communities can go for resources, support and other services.”

Typically, these arrangements are part of a long-term (20-30 year) partnership with infrastructure performance being required throughout the duration of the contract. This approach gains value through economies of scale, reduces risk to the public sector and provides a platform and an investment portfolio size that can attract financing opportunities normally not available to the stormwater sector.

What makes the CBP3 program approach so valuable are the performance-based targets for social and economic benefits to communities, such as utilizing a specified number of local workers and small, local and minority owned businesses in the program. The use of mentoring efforts to support local small businesses is commonly used in these programs to overcome the challenges of starting and running a small business. These aspects of the CBP3 approach highlight the unique way that this approach drives value to localities.

On this point, Ms. Mami Hara, CEO and General Manager of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), states that, “As a community-centered utility, SPU places the interest of our customers and residents at the top of our decision-making. This priority reflects our goals of inclusion, engagement, and partnership with BIPOC and low-income communities to empower residents in these communities to identify priorities, build structural power, and share decision-making. The CBP3 program approach is one that SPU supports as it enables efficient environmental infrastructure implementation, supports both capital and O&M needs, and provides long-term employment opportunities for minority-owned small businesses and community members. The launch of this Center will be an invaluable aid for municipalities and utilities like ours which have significant infrastructure investment needs and which prioritize the interests of their residents of all backgrounds.”

The CBP3 program approach has reduced the cost of implementing integrated GSI by up to 40% compared to conventional project delivery methods and has met or exceeded all social and economic goals in communities such as Prince George’s County, MD and the City of Chester, PA. Similar programs are being established in areas ranging from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Northwest to central California. “The opportunities in the stormwater sector are significant, and the CBP3 program approach is a way to unlock these opportunities as we’ve already seen,” said NMSA Executive Director, Dr. Seth Brown, who is leading the CBP3 Center along with Ms. Dominique Lueckenhoff, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Hugo Neu Corporation, who serves as Center Chair. Ms. Lueckenhoff outlines the value of the CBP3 program approach and how the Center will provide support by stating, “Sustainable management of stormwater and other distributed infrastructure, including renewable energy, through nature-based approaches, smarter technologies, local economic development and cost-effective financing, delivery and maintenance platforms addressed through the CBP3 program not only saves money, but prioritizes community investments that bolster local government capacity, create jobs, grow small businesses and support greater overall resilience – particularly for overburdened and marginalized communities. The CBP3 Center of Excellence offers ‘one-stop-shop’ assistance in this regard.”

The CBP3 Center of Excellence launched by NMSA will work to promote the application and growth of CBP3 across the U.S. by providing both educational and technical assistance for all aspects of a CBP3 to accomplish design/build/finance/operation and maintenance – all or any combination that a community prioritizes for accomplishing its goals, including development of procurement requests through local contracting mechanisms and value for money assessments to pursue the most cost-effective financing.

For both private and public entities interested in developing a working knowledge of CBP3 principles and practices, the Center will be issuing a professional CBP3 certificate program, while serving as an information and networking clearinghouse. With this announcement the Center is actively soliciting proposals from communities that would like CBP3 assistance. Applications from interested municipalities are being accepted through February 10, 2021.

To learn more about this opportunity, go to or contact NMSA Executive Director, Dr. Seth Brown, at [email protected].

The National Municipal Stormwater Alliance is a 501.c.3 organization located at 1727 King Street, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314. For more information, please go to: