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Green Infrastructure in St. Louis to reduce CSOs & provide community amenities

St. Louis, MO

Institutional ratepayer and vacant lot participation in Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District's Rainscaping Large Scale Grants Program to install green infrastructure on their private property and bring multiple benefits to vulnerable communities.

Topics Covered

Stormwater Management
Water Supply & Drought
Housing & Affordable Housing


Initial: 2.4 Million USD


General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2019

Gov Champion

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District

Problem Addressed

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) faces the overlapping water management challenges of combined sewer overflows and aging infrastructure.

Throughout MSD’s service area, there are hundreds of points where a combination of stormwater and wastewater discharges into local waterways from the sewer system during moderate to heavy rainstorms. From 1992 to 2012, MSD spent approximately $2.7 billion to remove more than 350 overflows. The task now is to increase the system capacity to address the remaining 400 overflow facilities.

Solutions Used

As part of MSD Project Clear, MSD’s Consent Decree with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, MSD will spend $100 million in rainscaping investments over a period of 23 years, with an overall goal of reducing combined sewer overflows to the Mississippi River.

Having acquired EPA approval for the program, MSD seeks to continue to build partnerships with municipalities, local government agencies, schools, community development organizations, and private developers through the Rainscaping Large Scale Grants Program.

The Rainscaping Large Scale Grants Program offers private landowners a per-acre reimbursement for installing green infrastructure. However, a variety of barriers prevent some property owners from participating. Through an innovative partnership with a mission-driven project developer, Greenprint Partners, MSD is able to deliver funding to institutional ratepayers located in lower-income areas of the St. Loius. These projects drive more equitable distribution of grant funds and while helping prevent combined sewer overflows.

MSD’s Rainscaping Large Scale Grants Program offers great promise to help St. Louis scale its green infrastructure investments and avoid the economic consequences of continued failure to upgrade America’s wastewater infrastructure. MSD’s program incentivizes private property owners and developers to identify and build commercial scale green infrastructure installations on public and private land—the most cost effective, risk-managed, and simple way for cities and water authorities to deploy these localized water management solutions. For example, in 2019 Greenprint Partners expects approval and funding for three green infrastructure installations through MSD’s program.

● Wells Goodfellow Neighborhood-Scale Green Infrastructure

● Historic Baptist Church

● Catholic Social Services Provider



Economic & Equity Benefit: Encourages landowners to consider “Shared Prosperity” co-benefits, e.g., stabilizing property values and preventing people from moving out of the neighborhood


Social Benefits: Encourages landowners to consider their own co-benefits, e.g., increasing mental health and community pride, as they decide on their priorities during the design process.

Last Updated

Jan 30th, 2020

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