When rain falls in natural, undeveloped areas, the water is absorbed and filtered by soil and plants. As urban areas grow, less and less of this natural environment remains. Cities typically manage storm water by guiding it into storm drains and sewer systems, which often have limited capacities and require complex and expensive infrastructure. Water runoff in urban areas also often captures litter, heavy metals, oils, bacteria, and other pollutants found on streets and sidewalks.
Green infrastructure captures, absorbs, or diverts storm water from urban areas before it enters sewer systems or causes flooding. Green infrastructure also filters and cleans stormwater naturally, reducing the negative impact before stormwater reaches rivers, lakes, and streams. Green infrastructure creates permeable surfaces and/or retains storm water for slower release into the storm drains over time, allowing storm water to be naturally absorbed where it falls instead of quickly flowing into City sewers. Reducing the amount of stormwater that drains into the City’s combined sewer system is a cost-effective way to control localized flooding and reduce pollution in local waterways like the Hudson and Hackensack Rivers. Green infrastructure can also help to beautify neighborhoods, improve air quality, and reduce the City’s carbon footprint.
Jersey City has installed a few examples at and near City Hall, including the following items:
Bioswales are oversized tree pits filled with plants, sand, gravel, and engineered soil, which are specifically designed to absorb water. Inlets divert rainwater from the street into the bioswale instead of into the storm drain. They are designed to accommodate larger quantities of water than standard tree pits and can divert runoff from large impervious areas such as sidewalks, parking lots, and streets.
Rain barrels are containers connected to a roof gutters and downspouts that divert stormwater before it enters sewers. Our barrels collect as much as 50 gallons of water and can be purchased for $25 here.
Rain gardens are an inexpensive and simple way to mitigate urban stormwater runoff. Rain gardens are shallow, constructed depressions that are planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses. They are strategically located to capture runoff from hard surfaces such as driveways, parking areas, sidewalks or streets. Rain gardens fill with a few inches of water after a storm and then filters into the surrounding soil, rather than running off to the street or burdening the storm drain.
Benefits: The benefits of planting rain gardens are numerous. Rain garden benefits include pollution control, flooding protection, habitat creation and water conservation.
Here is a guide on how to maintain and inspect a rain garden from our partners Rutgers Agricultural Experiment Station and the Water Resources Program
Porous/permeable pavement is a permeable surface that allows stormwater to travel directly into the ground below instead of into storm drains. Porous pavement is commonly found in walkways, parking lots, tree pits, driveways and patios, but some types are not suitable for standard roadways.
Porous pavement can be made with concrete, asphalt, or interlocking pavers.
The map below provides more information on all of our current and proposed green infrastructure installations throughout Jersey City.