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Brooklyn’s Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew Completes Green Infrastructure Project Made Possible by Department of Environmental Protection Grant

$443,000 Project Installed 10,000 Square Feet of Permeable Surface

Green Infrastructure Grant Project Captures 470,250 Gallons of Stormwater Runoff, Improving Health of East River

Photos are Available on DEP’s Flickr Page

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew, located in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood, recently announced the recently completed installation of a rain garden and permeable pavement project that captures runoff from nearly 10,000 square feet of impervious surfaces. This project was made possible by a $443,000 grant through DEP’s Green Infrastructure Grant program. The installation will collect and absorb 470,250 gallons of stormwater per year, keeping it out of the City’s combined sewer system and helping to reduce overflows into the East River.

“DEP’s Green Infrastructure Grant program encourages property owners to do their part to manage stormwater and help keep it out of our sewer system,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “This project is a wonderful example of a partnership with a strong community partner to build the green infrastructure, which has enhanced the church property for its congregants and will also ultimately result in the improvement of the health of New York City’s surrounding water bodies.”

“The idea for this project was to integrate a sustainable stormwater management system into a beautiful garden landscape. The rain gardens run along the edge of the property, serving as green gateways into the church while providing additional green space for the public sidewalk and community,” said Reverend Julie M. Hoplamazian. “Our belief here at The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew is that because the earth is God's creation, we must care for it, not pollute it. This rain garden project was a seamless partnering with our mission of both welcome and environmental care, and we are so happy with the result.”

“This project to capture stormwater and improve the health of the East River will not only benefit the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, it will help our neighborhood and our city,” said Assembly Member Walter T. Mosley. “Capturing stormwater runoff will lessen the burden on our sewers, and prevent flooding in the community. At the same time, we can see benefits to our natural waterways as well. I am proud that this project was undertaken in my district and I thank the Department of Environmental Protection and the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew for working together and coming up with a wonderful and sustainable solution.”

“The Green Infrastructure Grant program is a great example of how the City of New York and community partners can work collaboratively to improve the quality of our waterways,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo. “Under the de Blasio Administration, we have steadily increased our momentum towards becoming a more environmentally-friendly city. I want to thank DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza and Reverend Julie M. Hoplamazian for their leadership in ensuring that the neighborhood of Clinton Hill becomes an integral component of enhancing our citywide stormwater management system.”

The Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew is one of 34 partners that DEP has committed funding to since the Grant Program launched in 2011. In total, DEP has committed over $15 million to its Grant Program partners who, in turn, have contributed $6.6 million in matching funds. Not-for-profit organizations, private property owners and businesses are eligible for funding for projects that use green infrastructure to reduce or manage stormwater on private property. DEP accepts applications on a rolling basis, year-round. Consideration will be given to projects that are cost effective, provide matching funds or other contributions, and include training and workforce development.

Like many older urban centers in the United States, New York City is largely serviced by a combined sewer system where stormwater that falls on impervious surfaces such as rooftops and streets, and wastewater from homes and businesses, are carried through a single sewer pipe to treatment plants. During heavy rainfall, the amount of stormwater entering the sewers can exceed the capacity of the system and a combination of stormwater and wastewater—called a combined sewer overflow (CSO)—can be discharged into local waterways. Since 2002, DEP has invested more than $10 billion in upgrades to wastewater treatment plants and related efforts to reduce CSOs and today New York Harbor is cleaner and healthier than it has been in more than a century. However, CSOs remain the city’s top harbor water quality challenge.

In 2010, the City launched the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, an alternative approach to reducing CSOs and improving water quality that combines traditional infrastructure upgrades with cost effective green infrastructure installations that capture and retain stormwater runoff before it ever enters the sewer system and can contribute to overflows. Through 2030, DEP is planning for $1.5 billion in public funding for targeted green infrastructure installations, as well as an estimated $2.9 billion in cost-effective grey infrastructure upgrades, to significantly reduce CSOs. The Green Infrastructure Grant Program is one part of the Green Infrastructure Plan.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year.