April 23 2012

Stormwater Management in New York City, New York

During rainfall and snow storms, 27 billion gallons of raw sewage and stormwater are released into New York City’s waterways. These discharges are called Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOS). CSOs occur when treatment plants are overwhelmed by water flows that are more than twice the design capacity.

Combined Sewer Outfalls (CSOs) occur when treatment plants are overwhelmed by water flows during snowstorms and rainfall.

A number of sustainable methods of stormwater management have been proposed by environmental non-profits like Stormwater Infrastructure Matters (S.W.I.M.) – a coalition dedicated to ensuring swimmable and fishable waters around New York City through natural, sustainable stormwater management practices, called Green Infrastructure, in NYC’s neighborhoods. S.W.I.M. insists in its mission statement that “this approach is environmentally and fiscally responsible because it utilizes stormwater, currently viewed as waste, as a resource.”

S.W.I.M.’s website recommends the following strategies be used for controlling stormwater run-off and avoiding “end-of-the-pipe” solutions:

●      Urban forestry (Green Infrastructure in Greenstreets, natural areas, parkland, street trees);

●      Wetland management;

●      Green roofs;

●      Permeable pavement;

●      Rainwater harvesting;

●      Rain gardens;

●      Community gardens;

●      Composting and soil remediation;

●      Shellfish restoration.

Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative, the Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan, and NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, have incorporated green infrastructure into stormwater management strategies. It is critical that engineers, urban planners, and policy makers continue to utilize these strategies in order to revitalize New York’s waterways, promote sustainability, and protect public health. In doing so, they can create opportunities for recreation, economic development, and protect valuable environmental resources.

How has your municipality or town incorporated green infrastructure into their long-term stormwater management plan?

Credits: Images and document linked to sources.

Christine Camilleri

Christine Devon Camilleri blogged for the GRID from October 2011 to May 2012. She is a Graduate student studying City and Regional Planning at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She also holds a B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University. She has lived in New York City for the majority of her life, and currently resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. Prior to joining Global Site Plans she worked as a grassroots political organizer. She is especially interested in New York City’s post-industrial waterfronts and the implications of participatory planning processes for community development initiatives.

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2012 at 6:05 pm and is filed under Engineering, Environment, Environmental Design, Environmental Non-Profit, Infrastructure, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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