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“Green Infrastructure” help for Jackson Heights businesses and residences

By Len Maniace

Grants are available to property owners in Jackson Heights to install green roofs, rain gardens and other measures designed to make New York City a greener place.

The grants are part of the Green Infrastructure program of the NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection that covers much of the city. Though the green infrastructure projects are opportunities to bring a bit of nature back to city neighborhoods, their main goal is to clean up the water in the city’s creeks, rivers and bays.

Since Jackson Heights is not on the water, you might wonder how these projects could affect the quality of our waterways. The answer comes down to the fact that sewage from our homes and storm-water runoff are all handled through the same combined sewer system. That system is designed to clean up waste water at the city’s sewage treatment plants. However, even moderate rains produce so much runoff that they can overload the treatment plants, resulting in massive overflows of untreated sewage into New York waterways.

Green infrastructure projects are designed to capture a significant amount of rain or melting snow, reducing the amount water that runs into storm drains, thereby decreasing the amount of tainted water that bypasses treatment plants. Other measures eligible for the grants are porous pavement and rainwater harvesting.

Here are some helpful links that provide more information:

Grant Program for Private Property Owners

Some green infrastructure projects around the city, including one at Queens College
Bishop Loughlin Before and After

And here’s a direct link to the online application:

NYC Department of Environmental Protection – Cafeteria
59-17 Junction Boulevard
*General workshop; technical workshop on the stormwater calculations template; open “office hours” with DEP Engineers