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Successful and Beneficial Green 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

Hoboken Columbia – IRS Mixed Use Water Infrastructure

This report presents potential green and gray infrastructure design strategies developed to determine the appropriate combinations of green and grey infrastructure based upon cost, social impact, and magnitude of desired flood prevention for the City of Hoboken. Spring 2012.

Low Impact Development (LID) As a Solution to the CSO Problem In the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary

This policy brief, from NY/NJ Baykeeper, reviews legislation, case studies and technologies to make the case for the use of Low Impact Development practices to reduce stormwater flows in combined sewer systems in municipalities.

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