Working in Neighborhoods wins EPA grant to reduce water pollution

Working in Neighborhoods, a Cincinnati-based community development not-for-profit, has won a federal grant to help reduce pollution and flooding from sewer overflows.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an award of $120,000 to the agency to help improve management of the Mill Creek watershed and reduce the runoff and pollution that occurs during heavy rains when storm water overwhelms neighborhood sewer systems.

WIN was one of 18 community-based organizations nationwide to win the grant, which was made under the EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Agreements program. The program funds non-profit agencies that want to create partnerships with industry, government, and academia to develop solutions that address environmental and public health issues in their communities.

“This EPA grant will help a community in Cincinnati disproportionately impacted by water pollution and flooding to find local solutions,” says EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede.

With the grant, WIN, which is based in South Cumminsville, will work to install green infrastructure to prevent storm water from flooding homes and overwhelming sewers in about 25 properties in the Mill Creek watershed.

Through a project called Partners for Better Watershed Management, WIN will develop a comprehensive watershed management plan to reduce stormwater runoff entering Cincinnati’s combined sewer system and polluting waterways, the EPA says.

The agency will conduct phone banking and outreach through social media, hold demonstrations and educational workshops, and bring together community stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce runoff in Mill Creek valley neighborhoods that have been disproportionately impacted by water pollution.

Working in Neighborhoods was created in 1978 to help low-income residents with home ownership and financial education. It has renovated more than 100 homes and sold them to first-time home buyers. Its executive director is Sister Barbara Busch.
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David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.