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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

The Steps Hoboken Is Taking to Reshape Development Amidst Rising Sea Levels

This case study gives context to flooding in Hoboken and steps the city is taking to reshape development and mitigate growing flood risks. 2014.

The Power of the Passaic: Paterson’s Birth and Rebirth Along the River

This case study illustrates how water infrastructure serves to improve or impair the quality of life in Paterson. 2014.

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.

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