Every year, nearly 30 billion gallons of raw sewage and polluted stormwater flow directly into New York City waterways—the Hudson, East, and the Bronx River, among others—thanks to the city’s outdated, overtaxed wastewater system. The Gowanus Canal alone has 13 Combined Sewer Overflow sites.
Among the actions the New York City Department of Environmental Protection is taking to reduce sewage in our waterways is the Green Infrastructure Grant program. Part of the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, the grants fund projects that capture rain from impervious surfaces on private property, ultimately keeping it from entering the sewer system.
Last month, six projects were granted more than $3 million in funding through this program. Once completed, these projects should capture more than 6 million gallons of stormwater each year.
“By soaking up rain water these projects will help to reduce pollution in our local waterways, including the East River, Gowanus Canal and Jamaica Bay,” DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said in a written statement announcing the grants.
A new round of grant funding will be made available in 2015 for private property owners throughout the city. More information can be found on DEP’s website here.
The 2014 Green Infrastructure Grant Winners:
Gowanus Arts Rooftop Farm – Park Slope/Gowanus, Brooklyn
The Gowanus Arts Building is a three-story former soap factory with a 6,000-square-foot that will soon house a green roof with vegetable gardens and riverstone blue roof to retain and slow the flow of stormwater from the roof. The vegetable gardens will be used and enjoyed by the building tenants, most notably Spoke the Hub, which has a children’s nutrition, healthy eating and cooking program. The project will manage more than 9,300 gallons of stormwater during each storm.
Madani Halal Rooftop Farm – Ozone Park, Queens
Madani Halal is an industrial abattoir and meat processing facility located in Ozone Park, Queens. The proposed project will involve the installation of intensive green roof vegetable gardens on two of the property’s roofs. The green roofs will absorb nearly 9,000 gallons of stormwater. It is located within the Jamaica Bay watershed.
Montefiore Moses Campus – Norwood, Bronx
Montefiore’s green roof project will be constructed atop a parking garage that is located adjacent to a 28-story residential building that houses Montefiore’s Residents/House Staff. The design includes both extensive green roof systems that will be accessible to residents. The project is located within the East River watershed and will manage more than 15,000 gallons of stormwater.
Paradise on Earth Community Garden – Morrisania/Melrose, Bronx
The New York Restoration Project’s Paradise on Earth Community Garden is located within the East River watershed and is comprised of three lots totaling approximately 10,807 square feet. The garden renovation will include retrofitting existing features into permeable paving and rain gardens/vegetated swales. NYRP’s goals for the garden renovation include facilitating environmental education, supporting urban agriculture, providing a green oasis for the community, and hosting local artist and cultural events. The project will manage approximately 15,000 gallons of stormwater.
Salmar Building Roof Meadow – Sunset Park, Brooklyn
The Salmar Building is mixed commercial/industrial building located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The project will involve a 61,050-square-foot green roof seeded with meadow plant mix. The featured plant on the roof will be native blue lupine, which is known to attract the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly. The project will manage 105,000 gallons of stormwater.
BAM South – Ft. Greene/Downtown, Brooklyn
BAM South is a new construction project, developed by DUMBO-based Two Trees Management, that will incorporate a green roof on the 3rd floor roof. This space will not be directly accessible to residents or visitors but will be visible from a public lobby and the residential units above. Due to the inaccessible nature of the space, the project will be cultivated as a habitat node for pollinators. The project will manage more than 9,500 gallons of stormwater within the East River watershed.
Photo credit: Matt Greene via Creative Commons