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Design Competition Aims To Accelerate Water Infrastructure Innovation

March 15th, 2016 by

The Build it Green (BIG) Competition will provide technical assistance and engineering support services to selected New Jersey cities and utilities to design innovative, financeable projects that reduce combined sewer outflows (CSOs) while also making neighborhoods and downtowns better places to live, work and invest.

BIG logoNew Jersey Future and re:focus partners today launched a competition intended to catalyze the design and implementation of integrated, creative projects that reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) while generating multiple local environmental and health benefits.

The Build It Green (BIG) Competition will select three New Jersey cities and/or utilities to receive customized technical assistance to design these CSO solutions. Selected cities and utilities will also receive engineering services (valued at approximately $17,000 per winner) to support the development of project implementation funding applications for submission following the BIG technical assistance process.

“The Build It Green Competition is intended to identify municipalities and sewer utilities that are eager to implement innovative solutions as part of their overall plan to reduce sewer overflows,” said Peter Kasabach, New Jersey Future’s executive director. “The awardees will receive technical assistance to help them design and finance projects that reduce overflows and also strengthen their communities. We’re eager to see all the great projects that result.”

“The BIG Competition is great way to generate creative, cost-effective ways to manage stormwater,” said Bob Atkins, director of New Jersey Health Initiatives, which is providing funding for the BIG Competition. “We’re proud to support the competition and eager to see the ideas it produces to further active, healthy lifestyles for New Jersey’s urban residents.”

All New Jersey CSO cities and utilities are encouraged to apply. Applications are due April 30 (Updated April 12). Up to three cities and/or utilities will be selected.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for New Jersey cities to become national models for how best to incorporate green infrastructure into their suite of best practices,” said Shalini Vajjhala, re:focus partners’ founder and chief executive officer. “Not only will we be able to help these projects get implemented, we will take what we learn and help other municipalities, across New Jersey and around the country, develop and implement similar projects.”

David Zimmer, the executive director of the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT), agreed. “The Build It Green Competition is a great opportunity for municipalities and utilities to take innovative ideas from conception to the point where they’re ready for the NJEIT financing application process, and in return to get integrated solutions built that can be replicated across the state,” he said.

“The problem of outdated water infrastructure in New Jersey is enormous,” said Chris Daggett, president and chief executive officer of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. “The cost to fix it will run into the billions of dollars, well beyond the resources of many of our older cities. We’re pleased to be able to support the Build It Green Competition, which will help these cities identify and implement the smartest, most beneficial, cost-effective ideas for modernizing our water infrastructure to meet the needs of the 21st century.”

Applications are due April 30 (Updated April 12). More information, including application materials, can be found here.

Support for the BIG Competition was provided by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Jersey Health Initiatives program and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

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About re:focus partners
re:focus partners is a design firm dedicated to developing integrated resilience solutions and innovative public-private partnerships for vulnerable communities around the world. Through large-scale programs like the RE.invest Initiative and the RE.bound Program, re:focus identifies systemic opportunities for innovation to create both public value and new private investment potential through projects with sound financial returns and economic, social, and environmental integrity for the communities they serve.


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