New York City agreement to reduce CSO

May 2012, Vol. 67 No. 5

As part of the agreement, the state and city have resolved all outstanding compliance issues associated with the Consent Order. The modified Consent Order requires the city to complete $1.4 billion in cost-effective gray infrastructure substitution projects to improve the city’s collection system performance. These substitute projects will save the city taxpayers $1.4 billion from the original tanks and treatment plant expansions, required by the Consent Order, while providing equivalent water quality benefits.

Examples of green infrastructure projects include: blue roofs and green roofs, which use mechanical devices or vegetation to slow roof water from draining too quickly and overwhelming sewers; porous pavement for parking lots that allows water to seep through it and be absorbed into the ground rather than running-off into the sewer system; tree pits and street side swales for roadways that allow water to pool in underground holding areas until it can dissipate in the ground or transpire through plants; wetlands and swales for parks; and rain barrels in some residential areas.

In connection with the agreement, the DEP has issued a RFP for engineering and design services contracts to develop green infrastructure master plans in three of the city’s combined-sewer areas and in other CSO areas of New York. The DEP expects to award the first RFP response contracts by the summer, with design work to start immediately after.