Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bloomie signs sewer bill

Mayor Bloomberg gets on board with plan to manage storm water runoff

Mayor Bloomberg played the muckraker Tuesday by signing a bill to drastically reduce the amount of filth-filled storm water that seeps into city waterways.

The environmentally progressive law - approved unanimously by the City Council last month - calls for the adoption of a citywide storm water management plan by Dec. 1.

The bill establishes guidelines for the management plan, which would make use - on public and private lands - of innovative strategies to cut down the volume of storm water entering the city's sewer system.

By doing so, the plan attempts to reduce the roughly 27 billion gallons of sewage-tainted storm water discharged into city waterways each year.

Bloomberg said the bill - which dovetails with waterquality objectives outlined in his sweeping PlaNYC initiative - will utilize inventive technologies to help further the ongoing "renaissance" of the city's waterways.

"In the coming decades, we must challenge ourselves to creatively reclaim our waterways for public use," Bloomberg said.

The bill calls for analysis and implementation of a series of storm water-capturing techniques. They include storm sewers that are not connected to overall sewer grids; pavement designed to filter rainwater into discharge areas, underground chambers for storm water storage and so-called green systems that line roofs, walls and portions of streets with vegetation.

Also, the legislation proposes to use tax incentives, grants and low-interest financing to encourage owners of new and existing buildings to install the selected techniques, when appropriate.

Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), who authored the legislation along with the Bloomberg administration, said its passage makes New York a leader in urban storm water management.

"This certainly will serve as the paradigm for other cities," he said.

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