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Keeping the Pavement Dry: Green Technology to Help NYC’s Struggling Drain System

Absorbing rainwater before it reaches the sewage system (in Brooklyn) - Photo credit: NYC Environmental Protection

New York City is facing a serious water management crisis. The city’s downpours (45 inches, or 114cm a year ) simply enter the underground sewage system and are then dumped into the nearest body of water. According to Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, this practice is harming ecosystems in the Jamaica Bay wildlife refuge and the Long Island Sound.
The traditional answer to this problem is to build larger storage containers and additional pipelines, but this requires constant expansion as populations increase. Instead, New York City (along with a host of cities, including Philadelphia) are implementing various sustainable techniques under the banner of “green infrastructure.” The infrastructure’s main goal is to absorb water before it reaches the sewage system, allowing the latter to work at optimum capacity. Green roofs and absorption zones are being planted across the city to reduce gutter and drainpipe work. New roads and sidewalks are being constructed with porous pavement, which filters excess water directly into the ground.
Green infrastructure is more than a solution to a structural problem. It fulfils New York City’s Clean Water Act obligations, reduces sewage maintenance costs and is a drive for private retrofitting investments. These processes should also improve residents’ lifestyle by supplying cleaner air and greener spaces.

Read the complete report (source):
"New York City Commits to Green Solution for Sewage Overflows, Harnessing Water as a Resource to Improve Communities"
Published on Switchboard.nrdc.org by Peter Lehner – March 15, 2012

Posted by: Robert YOUNGBLOOD / Translation English -> French by: Fabienne ORY


  1. Green infrastructure is already proven in some countries! I’m sure it will work! They should do it immediately before the raining season begins again.

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