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June 9, 2011


Farrell Sklerov / Michael Saucier (718) 595-6600

DEP Awards $3.8 Million in Grants for Community-Based Green Infrastructure Program Projects

15 Awardees Selected for Innovative Methods to Manage Stormwater Runoff

Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway today announced the 15 winners of DEP's 2011 Green Infrastructure Grant Program. Selected from a total of 52 applications, the 15 winners will share approximately $3.8 million of funds to build green infrastructure projects that will reduce combined sewer overflows and improve water quality in New York Harbor. During heavy storms, the sewer system often reaches capacity and must discharge a mix of stormwater and wastewater — called a combined sewer overflow, or CSO — into the city's surrounding waterways. As part of the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan that calls for investing $1.5 billion over the next 20 years to reduce sewer overflows, the grant program enables the city to partner with community organizations, businesses and not-for-profits to address stormwater runoff from private property. The grants will be used for a wide variety of innovative and creative stormwater controls, including green roofs, blue roofs, porous concrete, bioswales, and other measures to reduce and manage as much as 5.7 million gallons of stormwater a year. DEP originally announced in February that up to $3 million in grants would be awarded. Due to the strength of the applications, DEP increased the funding to $3.8 million to fund the most promising of a very strong, highly competitive group of projects. Selections were made by an interdisciplinary and interagency Review Committee comprising experts from the City's Departments of Environmental Protection, Transportation, Design and Construction, Parks and Recreation, the Mayor's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The completion of this inaugural grant program fulfills a 2011 State of the City commitment made by Mayor Bloomberg.

"The Green Infrastructure Grant Program has yielded 15 innovative projects, exemplifying how city government can partner with our communities to advance the goals of PlaNYC," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith. "The city has been combating the negative impacts of stormwater runoff for years, and we have developed a cost-effective strategy to find solutions across the five boroughs."

"The 15 winning projects are shining examples of the creativity and innovation of New Yorkers who care about their neighborhoods and the environment," said Commissioner Holloway. "Mayor Bloomberg's groundbreaking Green Infrastructure Plan sets out a sustainable approach to reduce combined sewer overflows by more than 12 billion gallons per year by 2030, a reduction of 40% from current levels. This new program enables the public to participate directly in cleaning our waterways and beautifying neighborhoods, and we are thrilled with the quality of applications that we received. The proposals were so strong that we added an additional $800,000 to the original $3 million of projects that we initially planned to fund. Because many of the green infrastructure projects use trees, shrubs and other plantings, these projects will also provide benefits in terms of air quality, more attractive streetscapes, and a cooling effect on hot summer days. We can't wait for these projects to be built."

"Green infrastructure is an innovative approach to reducing polluted stormwater runoff and sewer overflows while enhancing urban communities," said State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. "We applaud New York City's commitment to protect water quality through direct support for community-driven environmental protection efforts and congratulate the grant awardees."

Private property owners, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations were eligible for funding for projects that use green infrastructure to reduce or manage stormwater on private property and public sidewalks. Preference for grants was given to projects that would provide cost effective stormwater controls, matching funds or other contributions, and other benefits such as increased shade, decreased energy use for cooling buildings, increased awareness about stormwater management, and increased community stewardship.  These additional benefits are a key reason why the winners are providing $953,550 in matching contributions, a key promise of the green infrastructure approach. Also, over half of these projects will be monitored and data will be collected on the projects' effectiveness in managing stormwater.

New York City, like other older urban centers, is largely serviced by a combined sewer system where stormwater and wastewater are carried through a single pipe. During heavy storms, the system can exceed its capacity, and must discharge a mix of stormwater and wastewater — called a combined sewer overflow, or CSO — into New York Harbor. To address the challenge of combined sewer overflows over the long term, in September 2010 Mayor Bloomberg unveiled the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, which launched a series of initiatives that will improve harbor water quality by capturing and retaining stormwater runoff before it enters the sewer system. The plan estimated that a combination of $2.4 billion in green infrastructure, cost-effective grey infrastructure, and other program elements would reduce sewer overflows by 40% by 2030 while saving $2.4 billion through costly investments in traditional sewage retention projects, such as tanks and tunnels. Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and other structural elements to absorb and evaporate water and to mimic natural areas and hydrologic cycles. These types of projects are a key component of PlaNYC's sustainability effort because they also shade and cool the city, improve air quality, and increase property values. The city is currently working with the State to formally incorporate the green infrastructure approach into the city's long-term plans to reduce combined sewer overflows.

The winning projects are:

217 Park Row
Amount: $166,608
Location: 217 Park Row, Chinatown, Manhattan
Description: Located at the original "Five Corners" of New York City, the 217 Park Row Co-Op will build a green roof that will manage approximately 255,000 gallons of stormwater per year and will reduce CSOs to the East River. The landscape design of the plants will be shaped to look like the Chinese symbol for water. This project also includes a research study on migrating birds and breeding bird habitats with students from Fordham University.

Amy Norquist, President and CEO of Greensulate, said, "Greensulate is thrilled that the NYC Department of Environmental Protection is supporting this innovative green roof project in Chinatown with this generous grant. The cooperative apartment, the offices located adjacently, and the surrounding Chinatown environment will benefit tremendously from the stormwater management qualities, energy efficiency gains, and air quality improvement of this 9,200 square-foot green roof project. A member of the board of the Chatham Green cooperative at 217 Park Row in lower Manhattan, Triple Edwards, first approached Greensulate about this project in 2009, and with this DEP funding grant, Greensulate and the board received the final piece of the puzzle we needed in order to make this green roof a reality. Not only will this custom-designed green roof system manage over 250,000 gallons of stormwater annually — reducing polluted and costly water runoff into NYC's rivers — but it will also have the effect of removing the pollution of approximately 600 automobiles from the road annually as well. We are pleased to be a part of this trailblazing partnership between the board of 217 Park Row, the DEP and the community at large who patiently and methodically built the support necessary for the success of this grant."

Triple Edwards, board member of Chatham Green, said, "On behalf of Chatham Green, we would like to thank the DEP and Greensulate for enabling us to lead the way towards the greening of Chinatown. We would also like to thank the offices of Assemblyman Sheldon Silver and Council Member Margaret Chin for lending their support for this transformative district project.  Our last thanks is to the Chinatown Partnership and the NYRP for their continuing dedication to the greening and betterment of our neighborhood.  Chinatown is a unique part of NYC that will greatly benefit environmentally, educationally and economically from this green roof project."

61 Bergen Street
Amount: $41,975
Location: 61 Bergen Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn  
Description: The property owner and Highview Creations LLC will construct a green roof on a building that houses 61 Local, a local bar and restaurant. The green roof will manage over 60,000 gallons of stormwater per year and will reduce CSOs to the Gowanus Canal. The owner and staff intend to grow a few varieties of drought-tolerant herbs on the green roof that can be used in the food and drinks served at the bar.

Eric Dalski, founder of Highview Creations LLC, said, "We believe that the grant program is exactly what New York City needs to address stormwater capture issues, and we are very enthusiastic about being a part of it.  By introducing innovative projects funded through DEP, the city is coupling progressive green infrastructure with public awareness.  The green-infrastructure grant program is perhaps the best method of implementing a promising and sustainable urban landscape at a fraction of the cost of typical grey-infrastructure."

ATCO Properties
Amount: $418,073
Location: 381 Park Avenue South, Gramercy Park, Manhattan
Description: The ATCO team will build a green roof that will manage over 274,000 gallons of stormwater per year and will reduce CSOs to the East River. ATCO will partner with Sustainable South Bronx's green-collar job training program to install the green roof.  ATCO is providing $85,000 in matching funds.

Damon J. Hemmerdinger, Senior Vice President of ATCO, said, "Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and DEP's Green Infrastructure Grant Program, ATCO is very excited to begin green roof construction at our Midtown South office building located at 381 Park Avenue South and remain an active and ongoing participant in the greening of New York City."

AWISCO Welding Supplies
Amount: $206,188
Location: 55-15 43rd Street, Maspeth, Queens
Description: AWISCO, in partnership with the Newtown Creek Alliance and Highview Creations LLC, will build a green roof on an industrial building in Maspeth. This green roof will manage over 390,000 gallons of stormwater per year and will reduce CSOs to Newtown Creek. This project will be visible from the Kosciusko Bridge and will include a research study on the energy savings of buildings with green roofs.

Kate Zidar, Environmental Planner for the Newtown Creek Alliance, said, "With the support of DEP, we will demonstrate a lightweight, cost-effective green roof in the Maspeth Industrial Business Zone that could be appropriate for widespread use on building types typical of the industrial and manufacturing zones around Newtown Creek.  This collaboration between Newtown Creek Alliance, AWISCO, Highview Creations and DEP marks a new chapter in bringing place-appropriate green infrastructure to the Newtown Creek watershed, benefiting business owners as well as the environment."

Bowne House Historical Society
Location: 3701 Bowne Street, Flushing, Queens
Description: The Bowne House and its partners will manage approximately 130,000 gallons of stormwater runoff per year from the street into a sidewalk bioswale that will infiltrate the water. This project will reduce CSOs to Flushing Creek by keeping street flows out of the sewer system.  Bowne House will also build on existing environmental and sustainability education programs by incorporating this project and stormwater management into its programing.

Eric Rothstein, Managing Partner, eDesign Dynamics, LLC, said, "eDesign Dynamics and our partners are excited to begin working on a green infrastructure retrofit adjacent to the historic Bowne House. The project is ideally situated adjacent to a street and will manage a significant quantity of stormwater.  Being a part of an historic site, the project will be a demonstrable example of green infrastructure and serve as an educational tool."

The Brooklyn Greenway Columbia Street Green Infrastructure Project
Location: Columbia Street between Sigourney and Bay, Red Hook, Brooklyn
Description: The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative will install infiltration planters and porous concrete in the sidewalk along an entire block of Columbia Street.  The project will remove street runoff from the combined sewer system by directing the water into the planters. The project will reduce CSOs to the East River by managing approximately 285,000 gallons of stormwater per year from 10,400 square feet of roadway.  Brooklyn Greenway Initiative will partner with local organizations to enhance residents' participation in design and stewardship of the project.

Milton Puryear of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, said, "One of our priority goals for the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway is to create a 14-mile green infrastructure backbone along the East River that will over time make it possible to remove much of Brooklyn's East River watershed from the combined sewer system. We hope this grant will help us build a working partnership with NYC Department of Environmental Protection in support of that goal."

Brooklyn Navy Yard
Location: 63 Flushing Avenue, Building No. 3, Brooklyn Navy Yard
Description: In partnership with Brooklyn Grange, the Brooklyn Navy Yard will construct a 40,000-square-foot commercial rooftop farm.  The rooftop farm will manage over one million gallons of stormwater per year and reduce CSOs to the East River. The production of fresh local produce will create opportunities for urban agriculture jobs training and volunteerism, education and advocacy. Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn Grange are contributing $310,000 in matching funds to the project.

Chris Tepper, Deputy Director of Development and Planning for Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, said, "We are thrilled to partner with the DEP and the Brooklyn Grange on an innovative project that will not only help keep our City's rivers clean but will also produce fresh produce for surrounding communities and meet BNYDC's core mission of creating jobs.  This partnership is another step towards redeveloping the Brooklyn Navy Yard as the greenest industrial park in the country."

Durst Organization
Location: 655 3rd Avenue, Midtown East, Manhattan
Description: The Durst Organization has partnered with the Yale University School of Forestry to construct a green roof on a high rise in midtown Manhattan. The green roof will manage over 55,000 gallons of stormwater per year and will reduce CSOs to the East River. The Yale School of Forestry will construct a green roof research station and the anticipated studies include: water quality testing, water quantity capacity, and species performance.  The Durst Organization will contribute 60% of the cost, or $262,000, in matching funds.

Jonathan (Jody) Durst, President of The Durst Organization, said, "It's a great honor to win a New York City Green Infrastructure Grant. This program is exactly what our city needs to jumpstart sustainable retrofits of our existing building stock.  I applaud DEP for this innovative initiative.  This type of grant establishes a precedent to retrofit green roofs on existing high rise office buildings that will hopefully be replicated by other owners."

Forest House Affordable Housing Development
Amount: $180,205
Location: 1071 Tinton Avenue, Morrisania, Bronx
Description: Forest House and its partners will install an integrated cistern system that will manage over 491,000 gallons of stormwater per year that would otherwise flow into sewers and contribute to overflows to the East River. The system will use weather information and real-time monitoring to actively manage the stormwater detention and discharge functions of cisterns. Residents of the Forest House Affordable Housing Development will be able to see a real-time system performance display in the lobby.

Philip C. Reidy, P.E., Geosyntec Consultants, said, "Geosyntec Consultants, along with project partner Blue Sea Development Company, LLC, is thrilled to be awarded funding under the DEP's Green Infrastructure Grant Program.  Through this opportunity we will be able to demonstrate the efficacy of low-cost, active control systems in mitigating CSOs, controlling stormwater and aiding in water conservation efforts — all central to New York City's objectives in improving water quality in area waterways."

Intelligent Distributed Detention Systems — Gowanus Canal Watershed
Location: 253/259 Garfield Place and 348 4th Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Description: The project team proposed an intelligent distributed cistern system that will manage 78,296 gallons of stormwater per year on two types of properties.  This dynamic technology will use real-time weather monitoring to actively manage the stormwater detention and discharge functions of the cisterns.  These dynamic, intelligent detention systems will help control storm flows from properties during wet weather and therefore will reduce CSOs to the Gowanus Canal.

Philip C. Reidy, P.E., Geosyntec Consultants, said, "Geosyntec Consultants, along with project partners Bart Chezar, HDR/HydroQual and Staples, Inc.,  is very pleased to be awarded funding for this important green infrastructure demonstration project.  We see the performance assessment of cost-effective advanced stormwater control systems as a key step in New York City's efforts to leverage green infrastructure to improve the water quality of the City's waterways."

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Location: 331 East 70th Street, Lenox Hill, Manhattan
Description: The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House will build two rooftop gardens that will manage up to 63,000 gallons of stormwater per year and provide its clients with fresh vegetables. The rooftop gardens will capture the rain water and will reduce CSOs to the East River. This project includes multiple community development factors such as educational programs. The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House is contributing $20,000 in matching funds.

Miles Crettien, Coordinator, Healthy Foods and Wellness for the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, said, "Lenox Hill Neighborhood House is thrilled to take part in NYC's Green Infrastructure Program with the Department of Environmental Protection.  This exciting opportunity will both allow our children and older adults to create, and participate in, a fantastic garden program on our roof located in the middle of Manhattan, while also helping to improve the City's valuable ecosystem through the use of innovative technology."

Manhattan College
Amount: $420,125
Location: West 238th Street and Broadway, Riverdale, Bronx
Description: Manhattan College will retrofit two parking lots with porous concrete, which will allow rain to seep to underlying layers of gravel and other substrate instead of running into the sewer system.  The system will manage over one million gallons of stormwater per year, which will reduce CSOs to the Harlem River. Manhattan College engineering students and high school students interested in engineering will have the opportunity to participate in stormwater management through this project.  A local contractor is supplying the porous concrete at cost, resulting in a $26,700 in-kind contribution.

Dr. Scott Lowe, PE, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Manhattan College, said, "Manhattan College is extremely excited to receive this grant. This grant comes at the perfect time for the college. As we embark on educating a new generation of engineers with a focus on sustainability, there could be nothing better than having an example of green infrastructure right in our own parking lot, literally."

New York Restoration Project (NYRP) — Carroll Street Community Garden
Amount: $244,920
Location: Denton Place and Carroll Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Description: NYRP will install a right-of-way bioswale that will divert stormwater flow from the street into a rain garden that features native plants and trees.  The project will manage approximately 130,000 gallons of stormwater per year and will reduce CSOs to the Gowanus Canal. The design also includes a small Education Station that will function as a remote weather monitoring station and outdoor classroom hub. NYRP is contributing $44,000 in matching funds.

NYRP Executive Director Amy Freitag said, "New York Restoration Project and partners Stantec Inc. and City College of New York are honored to receive funding from DEP's Green Infrastructure Grant Program—another great PlaNYC sustainability initiative, like MillionTreesNYC. Stormwater capture features at our Carroll Street Community Garden will not only keep tens of thousands of gallons of polluted runoff out of the Gowanus Canal, but will also direct filtered stormwater to the garden's beds, which grow vegetables and herbs for the local neighborhood. The grant will also help create a new outdoor classroom in the garden that will teach the next generation of New Yorkers about the importance of green infrastructure and restoring the environment."

Osborne Association
Amount: $288,000
Location: 809 Westchester Avenue, Longwood, Bronx
Description: Osborne Association's project will feature an alternating blue roof and green roof system on its building in the Bronx.  Green roofs are vegetated roof installations that can absorb rain water in the soil and plants. Blue roofs detain stormwater in trays to create temporary storage and gradual release of the stormwater. This project will manage over 240,000 gallons of stormwater per year and will reduce CSOs to the East River.  The Osborne Association is partnering with multiple Bronx community leaders on incorporating green job curriculum for formerly incarcerated New Yorkers, and is contributing $123,000 for a new roof as an in-kind contribution.

Carolina Cordero Dyer, Associate Executive Director of The Osborne Association, said, "We are excited to be able to install a blue and green roof at the Osborne Association.  This new roof will contribute to the sustainability of the Bronx and its water system just as Osborne's Green Career Center for formerly incarcerated community residents contributes to the sustainability and the betterment of the Bronx."

Queens College
Location: 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, Queens
Description: Queens College will retrofit three different areas on their campus to infiltrate stormwater runoff, which will reduce CSOs to Flushing Creek. In total, the project will manage over 707,000 gallons of stormwater per year through the use of porous concrete and rain gardens that will infiltrate and retain water using native plants and trees. The Queens College Alumni Fund will provide $75,000 in matching funds for this project.

James Muyskens, President, Queens College, said, "Our faculty, staff and students are strongly committed to preserving the environment and to this end we recently launched our ‘QC Being Green' campaign. Therefore the news of our award from DEP to improve our stormwater drainage is very timely. We appreciate that in a period of reduced government support, New York City gave us an opportunity to apply for funding through its far-sighted Green Infrastructure Grant Program."

DEP manages the city's water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. New York City's water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, and comprises 19 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 7,400 miles of sewer lines take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dep or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nycwater.

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