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Effective Green & Gray Infrastructure

Most people are familiar with “gray” water infrastructure — the hard, concrete and metal pipes, holding tanks, pumps, water tunnels, and treatment plants. These systems play a key role in managing drinking water, wastewater and combined-sewer systems.

“Green” infrastructure is a newer approach to stormwater management that mimics nature by capturing stormwater so it can either be reused or seep into the ground where it falls, rather than flowing into underground sewer and storm pipes. Methods for stormwater capture include rain gardens, pervious pavement, planted swales, and storage containers such as cisterns and rain barrels. Green-infrastructure features can help reduce stress on water systems and can provide good local jobs, as well as making the communities where they’re installed healthier and more beautiful.

Both gray and green infrastructure are important components of water infrastructure systems statewide. Communities with combined sewer systems in particular will be evaluating gray- and green-infrastructure approaches to come up with the best combination that meets regulatory requirements cost-effectively and in a manner that provides tangible community benefits.

Resources

Presentations from Workshop: Fostering Municipal – Utility Partnerships for Water Quality Management

Feb. 7 2017 — Audience members learned about new best practices that will help municipal governments, working in partnership with their utilities, conduct/implement water loss audits, utility asset management and  green infrastructure planning and implementation.

The workshop was presented in partnership by: Association of Environmental Authorities, Sustainable Jersey, New Jersey League of Municipalities, Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and Jersey Water Works.

Presentations:

Report on the Evaluation of Water Audit Data for New Jersey Water Utilities

A new report released on Jan. 17, 2017 by the Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that statewide, New Jersey water utilities lose approximately 130 million gallons of clean drinking water per day through leaky pipes. Of that total, the report estimates that 50 million gallons per day could be recovered cost-effectively through investments in new or upgraded infrastructure.
According to the report, 50 million gallons is equivalent to the daily water use of a city more than twice the size of Newark, and represents approximately $10 million per year in potential recovered revenue.
To reach its findings, the NRDC analyzed what are known as water-loss audits from utilities under the jurisdiction of the Delaware River Basin Commission, which requires its water utilities to perform these audits and report the results. Water utilities in New Jersey that are outside the commissions’ jurisdiction are not subject to this requirement, so the NRDC extrapolated from the reported data to reach its statewide estimates.

The Green Infrastructure Exchange Has Launched!

The exchange is a new practitioner network  that supports, via accelerating peer learning, innovation and implementation, managers of public green infrastructure programs seeking to adopt and grow green stormwater infrastructure programs.

Green Acres and Green Infrastructure

The white paper recommends ways for New Jersey Green Acres Program to allow green stormwater infrastructure in existing parks.  To prepare, the committee sought and received input from Jersey Water Works members.

New Guidance: Designing Parks and Public Spaces with Green Infrastructure

Jersey Water Works Green Infrastructure Committee issues design recommendations.

The Jersey Water Works Green Infrastructure Committee has released recommendations for designing new parks and public spaces with green infrastructure to manage stormwater.  Green infrastructure features allow parks and public spaces to manage stormwater, control flooding, and improve water quality in ways that complement and can even enhance their other functions.  Green infrastructure features can be especially useful in flood-prone areas and in cities that need to reduce combined sewer overflows.

 

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