2011-02-11 / Community

EPA Sets Grants For Green Projects

Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway has announced up to $3 million in grants this year for green infrastructure projects within combined sewer overflow drainage areas in New York City as part of the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan.

The grants can be used for green roofs, enhanced tree pits, and other measures to reduce and manage stormwater on private property and public sidewalks. The launch of the grant program fulfills a 2011 State of the City commitment made by Mayor Bloomberg last month, and helps achieve the PlaNYC goal of improving water quality. New York City, like other older urban centers, is largely serviced by a combined sewer system where stormwater and wastewater are carried through a single pipe. During heavy storms, the system can exceed its capacity, and must discharge a mix of stormwater and wastewater — called a combined sewer overflow, or CSO — into New York Harbor. The NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, announced by Mayor Bloomberg last September, explains how the City will use green infrastructure to improve the quality of NYC’s waterways by capturing and retaining stormwater to reduce sewer overflows. The grant announcement coincides with a public meeting tonight to describe the Green Infrastructure Plan and the formation of the Green Infrastructure Citizens Group, a forum for community participation in shaping and implementing City’s green infrastructure program.

“Green Infrastructure has the potential to be extremely cost-effective,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith. “These grants will foster creativity and reward innovative thinking while helping to forge essential community partnerships.”

“The success of the Green Infrastructure Plan depends on support from local communities to help us develop innovative ways to deal with stormwater where it falls—not after it enters the sewer system, where it can impair water quality,” said Commissioner Holloway. “The grants awarded through this program will give New Yorkers a unique opportunity to help DEP improve water quality—and improve their neighborhoods. That’s a big reason why we believe that the Green Infrastructure Plan is the best, fastest, and most cost-effective way to continue the tremendous water quality improvements that are largely due to Mayor Bloomberg’s commitment to building the infrastructure New York City needs to thrive and grow.”

Private property owners, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations are eligible for funding for projects that use green infrastructure to reduce or manage stormwater on private property and public sidewalks. Preference for grants will be given to projects that can provide evidence that they will create further benefits such as increased shade, decreased energy use for cooling buildings, increased awareness about stormwater management, and increased community stewardship. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will join City personnel as part of the grant evaluation process.

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