Green Infrastructure Certification: Bridging the Gaps Between Design, Construction, and Maintenance
It is no secret that the stormwater industry is in desperate need of a way to connect design, construction, and maintenance of stormwater systems. With a diverse range of backgrounds and experience levels, teams with different roles often find it difficult to communicate about expectations and feasibility. These communication breakdowns can be exacerbated by the growing number of complex stormwater systems being introduced to the market. Green infrastructure (GI) is included in some of these new and emerging systems. Retention Pond Services is excited to work with the Water Environmental Federation (WEF) to offer the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program.
LOTS OF ACRONYMS! SO, WHAT IS THE NATIONAL GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM?
The National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (say that 3 times fast!), also known as NGICP, is an entry level certification for GI. A person holding the
certification will have the basic knowledge to understand why certain job tasks are essential to properly construct, maintain and inspect GI. The certification is for individuals but all levels of your team are encouraged to participate! Certification is a two-step process: (1) Attend a 35-hour training session with combined classroom and field time and (2) sit for and pass the NGICP exam within one year of completing the training. Candidates must have and be able to provide proof of a high school diploma (or equivalent).
NGICP is a nationally recognized certification and technical tool, allowing all members of your team to speak the same GI language. Why did the engineer decide to add a constructed wetland to the design? Why is it important to protect vegetation on a green roof? What are some maintenance obstacles for permeable pavement? What is involved in installing a drywell? Why is storage an important aspect of GI? It is our job as environmental professionals to protect our national resources and so we must be able to effectively discuss these systems. The certification can be used for professional or workforce development; both ensure your team of laborers, project managers, engineers, architects, etc. are prepared and qualified to serve as environment stewards.
HOW IS RPS PLAYING A ROLE?
I recently attended a “Train-the-Trainer Workshop” for NGICP in beautiful Austin, TX. After spending the weekend talking with the other attendees, it is evident that folks all across the U.S. are seeking a skilled and more united workforce in the stormwater industry. Utilities, municipalities, non-profit groups, and private businesses can all benefit from NGICP. As a trainer, my goal is to help my team and others become better qualified to maintain, construct, and inspect GI.
At RPS, one of our top priorities is continuing education. We are excited to pursue this opportunity with WEF as it will allow us to be better prepared for our daily work and set us apart from our competitors. It is essential that we see ourselves as leaders in public health and environmental protection. We must establish a demand for stormwater maintenance education and empower our colleagues in the industry to support a mission of water protection.
Original article written by Allie Nelson | Engineering Associate, EIT.