$53 Million Incentive Program Launched for Greening Private Properties Across New York City

June 17, 2021

Through region’s largest incentive program, properties can receive funding to install green infrastructure to manage stormwater on site to help ease pressure on drainage systems, reduce flooding and improve the health of local waterways

Photos of past projects are available on DEP’s Flickr Page

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today joined with the engineering firm Arcadis to announce the launch of a $53 million contract that will be utilized to engage private property owners across the five boroughs in order to green their properties and manage stormwater onsite. Working with DEP, Arcadis will proactively seek out private properties with large impervious areas and offer funding and guidance from beginning to end on the installation of green infrastructure. DEP has built more than 10,000 green infrastructure installations on public property across the five boroughs, but in order to further improve the health of local waterways and reduce street flooding the stormwater that falls on private properties must also be better managed.

“If you own a larger property in New York City we will be coming to your door to offer funding and assistance to help upgrade your on-site drainage system and allow you to contribute to a greener and more livable New York City,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “This is the largest incentive program in the region and it is a demonstration of our commitment to better manage stormwater generated from private properties across the five boroughs.”

“Globally, people are eager for opportunities to live a more sustainable lifestyle, and we are thrilled to partner with DEP to help make that happen in New York City,” said John McCarthy, president of Arcadis’ water business in North America. “This project reflects an innovative approach to stormwater management that will improve how New Yorkers experience water, adapt to climate change and provide lasting environmental benefits to the waterways that have shaped the city for generations.”

“Stormwater Infrastructure Matters (SWIM) Coalition salutes NYC DEP’s launch of their program to incentivize installation of green infrastructure solutions on large private properties,” said SWIM Program Manager Julie Welch. “Creating a flexible and robust GI incentive program is a win-win for both property owners and the City. We are thrilled that the DEP was able to add another tool to the GI toolkit to make installation easier. The program will help NYC meet our 2030 stormwater management and clean waterway goals and make our city more climate resilient.

Emily Nobel Maxwell, The Nature Conservancy’s New York Director of the Cities Program, said “As our climate changes, the threats posed by stormwater increase. We commend the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for reducing runoff by using nature-based solutions like rain gardens on public properties. This next step of proactively finding opportunities to install green infrastructure on private properties is both exciting and necessary in order for the City to rise to the challenges it faces in light of our changing climate. More green infrastructure not only results in cleaner water, it also helps beautify and cool our communities, which means better public health for all.”

More than 70 percent of New York City is covered with an impervious surface and stormwater runoff from these areas can cause street flooding and overwhelm the sewer system and cause pollution to be discharged into local waterways. In addition to the green infrastructure DEP has built on public property, the most common of which are rain gardens, over the last 10 years DEP has administered a grant program that has provided more than $15 million to 34 private partners who, in turn, have contributed $6.6 million in matching funds.

The new partnership launched today with Arcadis is anticipated to reach most large properties, 50,000 square feet or more, particularly in combined sewer areas of the city that drain to waterbodies impacted by sewer overflows. The types of green infrastructure that could be built through this program include subsurface storage systems, porous pavements, rain gardens, or other site-level practices that can cost-effectively manage stormwater runoff from large impervious surfaces such as parking lots. DEP and Arcadis will host an informational webinar later in the summer.

In addition to managing stormwater, green infrastructure provides several other benefits to property owners and New York City more generally. These “co-benefits” include increased urban greening, urban heat island reduction, healthier air, and more native habitat for birds and pollinators around the city.

The green infrastructure program in New York City complements the ongoing investments to upgrade the existing drainage and wastewater treatment systems and helps contribute to improvements in harbor water quality. Over the last 15 years DEP has invested approximately $16 billion to upgrade and improve the City’s wastewater system and reduce sewer overflows and New York Harbor is cleaner and healthier today than it has been since the Civil War.

About DEP

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 8.3 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 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 7,500 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 $20.1 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.

About Arcadis

Arcadis is the leading global design & consultancy organization for natural and built assets. We maximize impact for our clients and the communities they serve by providing effective solutions through sustainable outcomes, focus and scale, and digitalization. We are over 27,000 people, active in more than 70 countries that generate €3.3 billion in revenues. We support UN-Habitat with knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world. www.arcadis.com.