NEW YORK CITY — Folks in areas along Gowanus Canal, Newtown Creek and Jamaica Bay could be seeing green for going green.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is encouraging community groups, non-profits and property owners to apply for $6 million in new funding for environmentally friendly projects that will help absorb rainwater to prevent sewer overflows into waterways.
Funding will be provided to projects that will reduce or manage a minimum of one inch of storm water on selected properties. Preference will be given to projects in priority watersheds, areas of land that drain into a common waterway. According to the DEP, areas in most need of cleanup include Newtown Creek, Gowanus Canal, Flushing Bay and Jamaica Bay.
"The main issue here is that a lot of New York City has combined sewers," said DEP spokesman Ted Timbers. "All the waste water from your home, the toilets, the bathtubs... it all goes down the drain into the sewer system."
In addition to that, storm water that falls on the streets and sidewalks also goes into the same system, which can sometimes result in overflows.
"Combined sewer overflows are a problem in older metropolitan areas," Timbers said. "The issue is particularly acute in New York City because over 70 percent of the city is impervious to precipitation."
This is the fourth year of the Green Infrastructure Grant Program. During the past three years, funded projects included a 43,400 square foot green roof at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, permeable pavers and rain gardens at Queens College, and a green roof at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House in Manhattan.
The DEP will accept applications for the green projects in the spring and fall. Grant applicants will also be given opportunities to review ideas with DEP engineers before applying. According to the DEP, projects eligible for funding include rain gardens, roof gardens, porous pavement and rainwater harvesting on private property in combined sewer areas.
For more information on the Green Infrastructure Grant Program, informational workshops for prospective applicants and to view the application, visit this website.