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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

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.

Water Infrastructure in New Jersey’s CSO Cities: Elevating the Importance of Upgrading New Jersey’s Urban Water Systems

This report describes the new regulatory requirement facing the 21 New Jersey municipalities that have combined sewer systems, the characteristics of those cities and their combined sewer systems in particular, and the challenges they face in upgrading the systems. Prepared by Daniel Van Abs, PhD., for New Jersey Future. 2014.

Roxanne Qualls presentation on Cincinnati’s Water Infrastructure

This powerpoint by Roxanne Qualls, former mayor of Cincinnati, describes metropolitan Cincinnati’s holistic approach to drinking water, wastewater and stormwater including its successful programs to resolve combined sewer overflows. 2014.

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