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New York City DEP Report Advances Future Stormwater Plans

Sandeep Mehrotra, Stephan Sands, Liza Faber - Hazen and Sawyer; Pinar Balci, Floren Poliseo, Kristin Ricigliano - NYCDEP

Last Modified Jul 05, 2022

Nyc stormwater
This stormwater management report outlines community experiences with flood mitigation programs, integrated stormwater management initiatives, and regulatory compliance. Utilities can use this information to cost-effectively improve the health of local waterbodies and deliver related benefits to their communities.

The City of New York has a comprehensive set of programs aimed at improving water quality and protecting waterways, the environment, and public health across the five boroughs. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has already invested more than US$12 billion over the past decade to upgrade the city’s sewer system and treatment plants to reduce the threat of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) into surrounding waterbodies. The city owns and operates 14 wastewater treatment facilities and 96 pumping stations that convey stormwater and wastewater. The immense system protects the environment and the health of more than 8 million residents. The city’s robust capital program and implementation of one of the most aggressive green infrastructure programs in the nation has made New York Harbor cleaner and healthier than it has been in more than a century.

Stormwater manual floatable clean up
The Innovative and Integrated Stormwater Management Report highlights multi-purpose, non-structural, stormwater co-management efficiencies and solutions such as the city’s Floatables and Trash Control Program — which is a component of the SWMP and includes street sweeping, catch basin maintenance and repair, and a combination of booming, skimming, and netting structural controls in receiving waterbodies.

In addition to the combined sewer system and the separate wastewater collection system, the city owns and operates stormwater infrastructure that discharges directly into the local waterbodies through the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). As such, the MS4 Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) is a key element of DEP’s mission to protect the harbor. The SWMP includes numerous programs designed to reduce the pollution potential of stormwater runoff in the areas of New York City served by separated sewers. In 2018, DEP lead a multi-agency effort to create the city’s first SWMP Plan, a requirement of the MS4 Permit and the Clean Water Act.

As part of this effort, DEP found the information shared across communities invaluable and aims to maintain knowledge-sharing between municipalities and communities.

To develop and document the most effective stormwater management program possible, DEP looked to its peers in other municipalities to develop best practices and share research. DEP worked with 34 communities and with 38 participating agencies across the country to gather information on a variety of stormwater-related topics. DEP commissioned The Water Research Foundation’s Innovative and Integrated Stormwater Management Report, which summarizes the results of these discussions and provides baseline knowledge to assist in making informed, effective, and strategic decisions as stormwater programs continue to grow.

In addition to integrated planning, communities are implementing green infrastructure methods, such as rain gardens and green roofs, to reduce and treat stormwater at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits.

New programs that the city developed as a result of this collaboration include a construction and post-construction stormwater management program, industrial and commercial stormwater management program, and enhancement of municipal good-housekeeping pollution prevention program. The city was able to base these new programs on successful existing ones in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington DC; and Boston, Massachusetts, to name a few.

Excerpted from "World Water Stormwater Management":