FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 17-24
April 21, 2017
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DEP and NYCHA Celebrate Earth Day with Students from P.S. 112
Fourth-graders from P.S. 112 Bronxwood School learned about newly installed green infrastructure in their community and why it’s important for the environment
Photos of the Event Can be Viewed on DEP’s Flickr Page
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) celebrated Earth Day on Thursday by teaching students about the green infrastructure currently being installed at the Edenwald Houses in the Bronx. Fourth-graders from the local elementary school, P.S. 112 Bronxwood, got to see first-hand how green infrastructure works and learned why it’s important for the environment and the community. Green infrastructure uses soils and plants to manage stormwater runoff naturally, reducing sewer overflows into nearby waterways, including the Hutchinson River.
To improve water quality for all New Yorkers, DEP and NYCHA partnered last year to build green infrastructure at the Edenwald Houses. This effort is a part of New York City’s Green Infrastructure Program, a multiagency effort to install green infrastructure on City owned property such as streets, sidewalks, schools, and public housing. Green infrastructure controls stormwater by using it as a resource rather than a waste. Water is either directed to engineered systems for infiltration or detained at a slower rate before it enters the combined sewer system. Since 2010, the City has reduced the amount of rainwater that goes into the sewers during heavy rains by installing green infrastructure.
Angela Licata, DEP Deputy Commissioner of Sustainability, said, “Today’s Earth Day celebration at the Edenwald Houses presented a wonderful opportunity to show young New Yorkers how the rain gardens, permeable pavers and other sustainable installations being built throughout their community intersect with where they live, learn and play. We at DEP are happy to partner with NYCHA to create an interactive learning experience that taught future environmental stewards the importance and benefits of green infrastructure. This $10.6 million investment will soften the development’s impervious landscape, provide critical drainage and stormwater management, and help improve the health of the Hutchinson River.”
Bomee Jung, NYCHA Vice President of Energy and Sustainability, said, “We are pleased to celebrate our Green Infrastructure partnership with DEP on Earth Day, the first anniversary of the NextGeneration NYCHA Sustainability Agenda. This project improves the quality of life of our residents and contributes to a healthier, safer future for the entire community.”
Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director for Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer for the NYC Mayor’s Office, said, “In the face of climate change, green infrastructure and other innovative tools for storm water management support our efforts to build a city that is ready for the future. “By expanding green infrastructure, particularly on our NYCHA developments, the City is achieving its OneNYC goals to reduce neighborhood flooding and offer high-quality water services to all New Yorkers. NYCHA has been a world class leader in delivering on these efforts for their residents, highlighting their commitment to the City’s efforts to build a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable city.”
Meredith McDermott, Director of Sustainability for the New York City Department of Education, said, “We are committed to preparing our students to be responsible global citizens. Sustainability initiatives like this one provide opportunities for thoughtful conversations about the importance of protecting the environment while allowing students and families to take ownership of the sustainability work in their school and community. We look forward to expanding our sustainability initiatives, including rooftop solar systems, Zero Waste and school gardens, to schools across the city.”
The $10.6 million project at the Edenwald Houses, which began last year, is nearly complete. Work includes the installation of permeable pavers in courtyard areas and pedestrian plazas, porous asphalt and pervious concrete in parking areas, and rain gardens to collect the rain that falls on the rooftops of the buildings. By capturing approximately 10 million gallons of stormwater that falls on the development each year, the project will reduce internal sewer backups and ease pressure on the sewer system during rainstorms, which will decrease overflows into the Hutchinson River. The green infrastructure will also provide inviting spaces for residents and improved air quality and shade during the summer months. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
During the event, DEP educators explained to the students how green infrastructure benefits them and their community. They visited a curbside rain garden constructed by the school where they learn, a rain garden built by the basketball court where they play, and permeable pavers installed in the courtyard by the development’s community center where they live. They also helped plant a tree in the community center’s courtyard.
This project contributes to NYCHA’s comprehensive Sustainability Agenda, the Authority’s 10-year commitment to create healthy and comfortable homes that will withstand the challenge of climate change. Since its release on Earth Day 2016, NYCHA has been working with government and private sector partners to provide better service for residents and curb the effects of climate change. In addition to green infrastructure projects, work is underway to upgrade heating, hot water, interior and exterior lighting, and ventilation systems in buildings across the city, which will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent over the next 10 years as part of the NYC Carbon Challenge. NYCHA is also working with the City to test new approaches and technologies to achieve additional carbon reductions.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 21 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $20.7 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) provides decent and affordable housing in a safe and secure living environment for low- and moderate-income residents throughout the five boroughs. To fulfill this mission, NYCHA must preserve its aging housing stock through timely maintenance and modernization of its developments. Learn more about NYCHA’s Sustainability Agenda, which details the commitments that NYCHA will make over the next 10 years to improve resident well-being and operate as an effective and efficient landlord.