Pennsylvania town seeks stormwater PPP partner

The City of Chester said stormwater runoff is a leading contributor of water pollution and is seeking a private sector partner for a $50 million upgrade project.

The City of Chester in southeast Pennsylvania is seeking to improve its stormwater infrastructure and increase its resiliency to climate-related weather events.

Chester's stormwater authority has issued a request for qualifications for private sector investors to submit proposals for stormwater infrastructure updates as part of a “community-based public-private partnership”.

The city said urban pollutant runoff is a leading contributor to the degradation of urban water resources and increased flooding, and that “excessive” costs for stormwater retrofit projects can make it difficult to procure traditional project financing.

“These impacts are likely to continue – and worsen with climate change – until large-scale investments in stormwater infrastructure are implemented in urban areas,” the City of Chester said in a statement. “An effective and holistic way to address increased runoff and flooding resulting from existing impervious cover is to 'retrofit' these areas by reducing the volume of runoff generated from these areas through the use of 'green stormwater infrastructure'.”

In addition to improving its stormwater systems, Chester said the project aims to provide other community benefits including job creation, public health improvement, energy savings and economic growth.

The PPP Chester is seeking is a 30-year contract with a private sector partner to update and maintain a total of 350 acres of green infrastructure stormwater controls that meet regulatory demands and improve water quality. It is targeting a $50 million investment.

Proposals are due by 24 October, and Chester plans to select a partner by 18 November.