FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2017
NYCHA AND DEP CELEBRATE EARTH DAY, HIGHLIGHT PROGRESS OF GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE AT EDENWALD HOUSES IN THE BRONX
Fourth grade students from local P.S. 112 Bronxwood School learned about newly installed green infrastructure in their community and why it’s important for the environment.
Green infrastructure uses soils and plants to manage stormwater runoff naturally, reducing sewer overflows and pollution into the nearby waterway
NEW YORK––The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) celebrated Earth Day today highlighting the progress of green infrastructure construction underway at Edenwald Houses in the Bronx. Fourth grade students 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 and pollution into the nearby waterways.
To improve water quality for all New Yorkers, last year, NYCHA and DEP partnered to build green infrastructure at Edenwald Houses, as 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.
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.”
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 bioswales, rain gardens and other sustainable installations being built throughout their community intersect with where they live, learn and play. We at DEP were 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 in facility upgrades will soften the development’s impervious landscape, provide critical drainage and stormwater management, and help improve the health of the Hutchinson River.”
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 Edenwald Houses, which began last year, is nearly complete. It includes permeable paving, which allow water to seep in between the paving materials and be absorbed into the ground; rain gardens, which are landscaped areas that include a stone layer, engineered soil and plants, to capture stormwater runoff; bioswales, which are planted areas in a sidewalk that collect rainwater; and a system to collect and divert the rain that falls on the rooftops of the buildings.
Each of these green infrastructure components will allow stormwater to be absorbed naturally into the ground, and keep stormwater from entering the sewer system, where it would otherwise contribute to overflows into the Hutchinson River. At the same time, they will help improve site drainage and prevent rainwater from infiltrating into basements and contributing to in-building moisture and mold. In addition to improving water quality, the green infrastructure installed will provide inviting spaces for residents, additional landscaping and improved air quality and shade during the summer months. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
DEP educators showed the kids what this green infrastructure means for them. They visited a bioswale installed by the school where they learn, a rain garden by the basketball court where they play, and permeable paving in the courtyard by the Edenwald Houses community center where they live. They also helped plant a tree in the 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.
About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
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.
About the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) protects public health and the environment by supplying clean drinking water, collecting and treating wastewater, and reducing air, noise, and hazardous materials pollution. To achieve these mandates, DEP oversees one of the largest capital construction programs in the region. As the City agency responsible for New York City's environment, DEP also regulates air quality, hazardous waste, and critical quality of life issues, including noise. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.