New York City's wastewater treatment plants have major issues dealing with stormwater runoff, but a potential pilot project of 'green' schoolyards could begin to pave the way for future solutions to this dilemma.
As part of the city's efforts to reduce the amount of untreated wastewater that flows into NYC's waterways during storms, the metropolis has been busy planting trees, supporting green roofs, and installing huge tanks to deal with the runoff of precipitation. However, all of those are still just a drop in the bucket in the face of the sheer quantities of water which must be dealt with - as much as 30 billion gallons per year.
But NYC's Department of Environmental Protection, in partnership with the not-for-profit Trust for Public Land, is in the process of developing a plan to build some green playgrounds, which will be designed to slow down the runoff and capture up to one inch of rain from each storm.
"Five proposed schoolyards in Brooklyn and Queens are undergoing soil tests, and if selected they will be transformed into public playgrounds with storm water-capture features such as rain barrels, raised gardens, porous pavers and an under-layer of gravel that holds water during a storm, before allowing it to seep gradually into the ground below, city DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland said." - WSJ
The playgrounds are expected to be open by the end of 2013.