Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza signed an agreement with the state’s Department of Environmental Management Tuesday to improve the city’s stormwater infrastructure.
The seven-year plan comes after the DEM threatened Providence with daily $25,000 fines if the city failed to remedy multiple violations of its stormwater permit. The city’s stormwater system was responsible for runoff that was polluting local rivers and ponds.
The deal requires the city to increase the frequency of its street cleaning and sewer drain maintenance. Providence has also agreed to improvements in Riverside and Roger Williams Park. The upgrades are expected to reduce flooding and improve the condition of local waterways.
In a statement, Elorza cited the importance of investing in the city’s waterways.
“By making these critical investments in our city systems, we are addressing an overlooked structural issue, protecting our waterways, and planning for the long term." said Elorza.
The commitment to fix Providence’s sewer system comes after various efforts to invest in the city’s infrastructure. Last year, a ballot measure approving a $40 million bond for city infrastructure projects was passed but fell through when council members and the mayor could not agree on where to spend the money.
This January, Elorza financed his city projects through a Capital Improvement Plan. The mayor budgeted money for the sewer system overhaul in his plan.