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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 14-13

March 04, 2014

CONTACT:

deppressoffice@dep.nyc.gov, (718)595-6600

Department of Environmental Protection Makes $6 Million in New Grants Available to Community Groups, Non-Profits, and Property Owners for Green Projects

Green Infrastructure Enhances Community Life, Helps Clean the Air, and Improves the Health of Local Waterways – Pictures of Completed Projects are Available on DEP’s Flickr Page

Preference for Grants Will be Given to Projects that Engage Local Communities in Environmental Awareness through Educational Efforts and Green Job Training

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today encouraged community groups, non-profits, and property owners to apply for the $6 million in new funding that is available for green projects through the 2014 Green Infrastructure Grant Program.  DEP is engaged in a city-wide effort to soften the impervious urban landscape and help absorb rainwater that would otherwise drain into the combined sewer system and contribute to combined sewer overflows into local waterways.  This is the fourth year of the Green Infrastructure Grant Program.  During the first three years DEP committed over $11 million to fund 29 different projects, which was matched by $5.6 million in private funds.  In total, the projects will prevent an estimated 13 million gallons of stormwater from entering the combined sewer system each year.  This year, for the first time, DEP will accept applications in the spring and fall and applicants will have the opportunity to review conceptual ideas with DEP engineers prior to submitting their application.  More information and the application can be found on the DEP website

“Investing in green infrastructure is a cost-effective way to improve the health of New York City’s local waterways, but it also brings multiple benefits to local communities including a greener landscape, cleaner air, and increased shade and cooler temperatures during the summer,” said DEP Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability Angela Licata.  “We encourage community groups and non-profits from across the city to apply for the $6 million in new funding we have made available to build green infrastructure projects while also engaging all New Yorkers in the important work of protecting the environment.”

“With the reality of climate change upon us and rising water tables, it is critical that New York City continues to invest in green infrastructure projects that will ensure communities are more resilient than ever,” said Council Member Donovan Richards.  “Today’s announcement shows that this administration is serious about engaging local communities to educate them on being good stewards of the environment. I urge all community organizations, non-profits, and property owners to take advantage of this opportunity.”

“Reducing stormwater runoff is a priority for the Gowanus neighborhood and I am glad to see DEP involving community organizations in working toward that goal across the city,” said Council Member Brad Lander.  “With the Superfund cleanup of the Gowanus Canal, improvements to increase the capacity of our sewer systems, and green infrastructure projects like these, we can make the Gowanus Canal a safe, beautiful waterway.”

"I am excited that the Department of Environmental Protection has made $6 million in grants available for green projects throughout New York City,” said Council Member Stephen Levin.  “I encourage New Yorkers to apply for these grants and to improve the green infrastructure in their communities."

All private property owners served by combined sewers in New York City are eligible to apply for a green infrastructure grant.  Grant funding is provided for the design and construction of projects that will reduce or manage a minimum of one inch of stormwater that falls on the selected properties.  If selected, DEP will reimburse up to 100 percent of the design and construction costs for the green infrastructure project.  Preference will be given to projects that are located in priority watersheds, are cost-effective, provide matching funds or other contributions, and include ancillary environmental and community benefits such as increased shade, decreased energy use for cooling buildings, increased awareness about stormwater management, and green jobs development. 

Notable projects that were funded during the first three years of the Grant Program and have completed construction include a 43,400 square foot green roof at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, one of the nation’s first blue/green roof combinations at The Osborne Association in the Bronx, a green roof at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House in Manhattan, permeable pavers and rain gardens at Queens College, a New York Restoration Project community garden in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood, and a green roof at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn.   

In 2014, for the first time, grant applicants will now have two opportunities to submit applications within the calendar year, once in the spring and once in the fall.  The spring due date is May 6, 2014 and the fall due date is October 21, 2014.  DEP will host three workshops to explain the eligibility requirements and guide users through the online application.  A fourth technical workshop will be held at DEP headquarters in April to provide support in computing the stormwater calculations.  A new feature of the program this year is that grant applicants will also have the opportunity to review conceptual ideas with DEP engineers prior to submitting an application.

BoroughDate/TimeLocation
Manhattan March 19, 2014
6:00-7:30PM
New School University Center - Tishman Auditorium
63 5th Avenue
Brooklyn March 27, 2014
6:30-8:00PM
St. Francis College - Callahan Room
180 Remsen Street
Bronx April 3, 2014
6:00-7:30PM
Hostos Community College - C391
500 Grand Concourse
Queens April 9, 2014
1:00-5:00PM
NYC Department of Environmental Protection - Cafeteria
59-17 Junction Boulevard
*General workshop; technical workshop on the stormwater calculations template; open "office hours" with DEP Engineers

New York City, like other older urban communities, is largely serviced by a combined sewer system where stormwater that falls on roofs, streets, and sidewalks, and wastewater from homes and businesses are carried through a single sewer line to treatment plants. The city’s 14 treatment plants can manage and treat to federal Clean Water Act standards all the wastewater created in New York City on a dry weather day. However, during intense precipitation events, the stormwater that falls on pavement, rooftops, and other impervious surfaces exceeds that capacity and overflows are discharged into local waterways. If the overflows were not discharged, the City’s treatment plants would be flooded and severely damaged and wastewater could backup into homes and businesses.

Over the last decade DEP has invested nearly $10 billion to upgrade wastewater treatment plant capacity and related efforts to reduce combined sewer overflows, and the cleanliness and health of New York City harbor water continues to improve to levels not seen in more than a century.  However, overflows remain the city’s major harbor water quality challenge.  As traditional “grey” infrastructure upgrades became increasingly expensive and the resulting incremental water quality improvements diminished, in 2010 DEP launched the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, an alternative approach to improving harbor water quality that combines traditional infrastructure upgrades and the integration of green infrastructure to capture and retain stormwater runoff before it ever enters the sewer system.  The Plan has the ambitious goal of capturing the first inch of rain that falls on 10 percent of the city’s impervious surfaces in combined sewer areas. 

In addition to the Grant Program for private properties, DEP has a large capital construction program that builds green infrastructure on city-owned property such as streets and sidewalks, schools, and parkland.  DEP also has put in place stormwater management regulations for new development and redevelopments.  Over the next two decades, DEP is planning for $1.5 billion in public funding, and another $900 million in funding connected to new development or redevelopment, for targeted green infrastructure installations, as well as approximately $2.9 billion in cost-effective grey infrastructure upgrades, to significantly reduce overflows and further improve the health of local waterways. 

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.3 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam, and Westchester counties. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP employs nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and others professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $68 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.5 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with over $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nycwater.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600