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New York City Green Infrastructure Plan

October 04 2010 | Know Your H20,
by Mara Dias


NYC's New Green Infrastructure Plan

Submitted by Richard Jarman on Thu, 2010-09-30 10:34.

In a boost to the City's harbor water quality Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway and Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability Director David Bragdon have unveiled the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, which aims to capture and retain stormwater runoff before it enters the sewer system.

The current system discharges a mix of stormwater and sewage directly into New York Harbor during heavy storms due to its limited capacity. Traditional remedies which include upgrading holding tanks and tunnels are very expensive and have limited benefits.

Under the new proposals, which will require approval from the state and federal government, a mix of technologies and solutions will be implemented to not only reduce water contamination so that more waterways can be made available for recreation, but also green and cool the city and improve air quality.

Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and other structural elements to mimic natural hydrologic cycles by slowing down, absorbing, and evaporating stormwater. The new plan is estimated to reduce the city's long-term sewer management costs by $2.4 billion over the next 20 years, helping to hold down future water bills.

"One of the most challenging environmental questions facing New York City is how best to clean up our waterways," said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. "The NYC Green Infrastructure Plan is a comprehensive response that will reduce pollution, protect critical habitat and make investments where they will have the greatest impact. We applaud Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Holloway, Deputy Commissioner Strickland and everyone involved for this important step toward a more sustainable city."

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