GrowNYC Builds 5 New Rainwater Harvesting Systems in the Bronx

March 15, 2012

Thanks to a grant from the New York State Office of the Attorney General, GrowNYC has just finished installing 5 rainwater harvesting systems in the Bronx River Watershed. We partnered with Green Apple Corps and Sustainable South Bronx to make the project a success and to teach others how to build and install systems so that we can divert even more water. In total, we trained 30 residents to build and install RWH systems.

Five students from the Teen Action Program of The Point Community Development Corporation in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx monitored the 5 rainwater harvesting systems. They participated in a half-day workshop led by GrowNYC staff on water quality monitoring, where they learned how to use dissolved oxygen and pH testing equipment and the NYC water supply and the route it takes, including CSO. The monitoring strategy was to test oxygen and pH on a bi-weekly basis and compare and learn from results.

Based on our metrics, the following five systems are diverting approximately 64,430 gallons annually during growing season from storm sewers and the Bronx River.

River Garden (1086 East 180 Street): This garden is used by residents of the surrounding community and has approximately 30 members. Gardeners grow vegetables, flowers, herbs; tend to common plantings, compost, hold barbecues. We Installed a wing-type rainwater harvesting structure with integrated tool shed and a 300 gallon tank. The structure was built by Sustainable South Bronx under GrowNYC staff supervision.

Belmont Little Farmers (2485 Belmont Avenue): Installed a 500 gallon tank to divert rainwater from the adjacent building. The structure was built by Green Apple Corps under GrowNYC staff supervision.

Hispanos Unidos (2061 Honeywell Avenue): The roof of the garden casita was repaired to serve as the collection area associated with a 200 gallon rainwater collection tank. A downspout from an adjacent private home was also diverted into a 1,100 gallon rainwater collection tank.

Krystal Garden (2089 Vyse Avenue): A downspout was diverted from the adjacent multistory building into the garden and rain is collected in a 1,000 gallon rainwater collection tank. The project was installed by GrowNYC staff and community gardeners

Volky Flower Garden (859 Hornaday Avenue): The project involved re-framing, re-decking and re-shingling a casita/ shade structure roof, providing the collection area for 300 gallon and 250 gallon rain water collection tanks.

GrowNYC presents Stormwater Management workshops at NYC Botanical Gardens

January 16, 2013

In the coming months, GrowNYC's Open Space Greening Assistant Director Lenny Librizzi will be presenting a series of Stormwater Management workshops at NYC botanical gardens.

These two-hour workshops will cover stormwater management best practices for community gardeners and homeowners. Learn how to conserve water and help prevent pollution from stormwater by discussing topics such as rainwater harvesting, swales, rain gardens, enhanced tree pits, permeable paving, and more.

Information about sources for start-up materials and how-to tips will be discussed.

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx) Wednesday, February 6, 6pm to 8pm
Watson Education Building
Registration required; e-mail or call 718.817.8026. 

Brooklyn Botanic Garden 
Wednesday, February 27, 6pm to 8pm
Registration required; Enroll here

Queens Botanical Garden
Saturday, April 6, 11am to 1pm
Fee: Free with Garden Admission (pre-registration required)
Registration required; e-mail or call 718-886-3800 x.230.

Collecting Sunday night's shower

October 12, 2010

Last night's downpour covered New York City in an inch of rain and caused flooding in some neighborhoods. Storms place a huge burden on the city's sewer system, the effects of which are felt by the local watershed. GrowNYC has helped build over 60 rainwater harvesting systems in community gardens throughout the city. These systems help mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce the demand on the public water supply system, and make it easy for gardeners to water their gardens. But just how much water do they save? The general formula we use for calculating rainwater harvesting potential is that one thousand square feet of catchment area (like a roof) will yield 600 gallons of water per inch of rain. We also take into account the efficiency of the systems and say that 75% of potentially harvestable rain is actually collected. If a typical building's footprint is 20' x 50' (1000 square feet), that means 450 gallons of water could have been harvested by last night's one inch rainfall. A typical 10' x 10' shed could have harvested 45 gallons. For reference, a typical watering can is about 2.5 gallons. More information about GrowNYC's rainwater harvesting program is here. For a PDF guide to building your own system, click here.

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