The Center for an Urban Future released a study in November showing NYC has made some progress toward mitigating the effects of severe rainstorms and preventing stormwater from carrying raw sewage into local waterways – but the organization recommended the city redouble efforts to build green infrastructure, including green roofs, rain gardens and permeable surfaces.

According to the report, the system annually discharges more than 20 billion gallons of raw sewage mixed with stormwater into the city’s waterways. September’s Tropical Storm Ida emphasized the need to accelerate construction in the face of more severe weather wrought by the climate crisis. The report’s data show the city has fallen short of state-mandated targets. From 2016 to September 2021, the number of green infrastructure assets (completed and in progress) increased from 3,859 to 11,205. Only a fifth of post-2016 construction projects have actually been finished, however.

“Though public roads and sidewalks make up 30% of the city’s impervious area, the vast majority of the city’s roadways – including nearly all of Manhattan and Staten Island – have no rain gardens, catch basins or permeable surfaces to capture stormwater,” the report noted.

The report calls on the incoming Adams administration to expand the city’s goals for green infrastructure development, saying previous plans are outdated. It also showed that most of the fully constructed green infrastructure assets are located in Brooklyn and Queens. The Bronx and Manhattan have less than 10% of the assets.

Source: Crain’s New York Business

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