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Green Infrastructure Toolkit

The Green Infrastructure Toolkit is designed to educate homeowners, community gardeners and others interested in storm water management techniques which can help minimize the effects of rainfall on water bodies in cities that have combined sewers and other places that experience flooding and storm water problems. The photographs, detail drawings, material lists and text provide a starting point for those interested in utilizing these practices in their homes, gardens and communities. The toolkit also includes a printable PDF version of green infrastructure techniques.

THE PROBLEM

In New York City wastewater treatment plants, rain events cause water runoff, domestic  sewage, and industrial wastewater to be directed to the waterways around the city creating what are called Combined Sewer Overflows or CSOs. Every year, more than 27 billion gallons of sewage and dirty rainwater are discharged into New York Harbor during CSOs.

THE SOLUTION

CSOs can be mitigated with sustainable solutions, some of which we've collected below in our Green Infrastructure Toolkit. Rainwater harvesting, bioswales, rain gardens, downspout planters, green roofs, permeable paving, and enhanced tree pits are just a handful of green infrastructure techniques that we can use to relieve the strain on sewer systems.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting is the collection of rainwater, typically from gutters and downspouts, and the storage that rainwater in large, durable containers.

Green Roofs and Rain Gardens

A green roof is a vegetative layer grown on a roof that holds rain water and reduces roof temperature. Green roofs can be ornamental and low profile or used for intensive vegetable growing.

A rain garden is a garden of native shrubs, perennials, and grasses which can withstand both drought and occasional flooding, generally planted on a low point of a natural slope.

Permeable Pavement, Downspout Planters, & Enhanced Tree Pits

Permeable pavement is designed to allow percolation or infiltration of stormwater through the surface into the soil below where the storm water is naturally filtered and pollutants are removed.

A downspout planter places plants along or at the end of a downspout to capture the water before it enters the sewer. Rainfall is captured by the planter allowing for infiltration and capture of pollutants.

An enhanced tree pit collects rainwater by diverting runoff from the street into a cut into the curb.

Bioswales

Bioswales are used to convey water to plants, rain gardens, or storm drains, while allowing the water to infiltrate into the soil and be soaked up by the vegetation, therefore reducing flooding.

Download the Toolkit

Download presentations, reports, plans for rainwater harvesting structures, and more.