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Newark, NJ: Planning & Implementing Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Posted by Content Coordinator on Thursday, August 13th, 2015



The City of Newark seeks to create a more sustainable city environment, improving the urban design of neighborhoods, the infrastructure serving the City, and health and safety of residents and businesses. Implementation of Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) is a key strategy by which Newark can both manage stormwater runoff more sustainably and promote sustainable community design and renewal. Greening the city through GSI can have positive effects on health and quality of life for Newark residents, as well as the vibrancy of Newark’s business environment. Newark’s Sustainability Action Plan identified the implementation of GSI as a major strategy available to the City to manage stormwater.

  • Newark’s Sustainability Action Plan proposes a number of actions related to GSI, including: 
  • Double Newark’s tree canopy and establish a stable source of revenue for tree maintenance.  
  • Implement a new Newark Stormwater Ordinance and promote GSI policies. 
  • Develop a stormwater infrastructure bank and explore options for funding stormwater Improvements through fees on runoff from impermeable surfaces.   
  • Integrate GSI standards into street maintenance and other city capital projects.
  • Identify and implement new GSI pilot projects.
  • Support neighborhood‐based rain capture projects  

Purpose of the Study

The City of Newark faces a range of challenges to sustainable development related to the combination of two features of its landscape: an impervious surface ratio of approximately 70 percent, and an old and overburdened combined sewer system. These factors contribute to urban heat island, stormwater run‐off, and air pollution challenges, all of which affect health and quality of life for Newark residents and the vibrancy of Newark’s business climate.  Newark faces federal and state regulatory requirements to control combined sewer overflow (CSO) and to improve its stormwater management in order to prevent pollution from entering the Passaic River.  The City is currently under an Administrative Consent Order issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to control CSOs. The use of GSI can reduce the amount of impervious cover, and address the overburdened combined stormwater and sanitary sewer system, which serves approximately half the city’s land area (more than 11 square miles), and mitigate urban heat island impacts. The implementation of GSI is a key strategy by which Newark can create a more sustainable urban environment.

This report and the associated appendices describe how Newark wishes to increase its capacity to plan for and incorporate GSI through:

  • Identifying and developing concept designs for a range of GSI elements that can be incorporated into the City of Newark’s new Greenstreets initiative;
  • Laying the groundwork to advance several GSI pilot projects and help identify stewardship opportunities to assist the City of Newark in maintaining GSI; and   
  • Identifying potential resources that will support implementation of pilot GSI projects, by applying effective site selection approaches, preferred site performance characteristics, relevant concept designs, selection of appropriate vegetation, and cost/efficient interventions and combinations of interventions.  

This report provides planning‐level and concept design guidance to assist in the implementation of GSI for the City of Newark, highlighting examples of GSI implementation elsewhere in the country.  It also begins to organize supporting technical information about GSI implementation, and makes recommendations for improved city workflows and practices to help Newark create GSI throughout the city. The following chapters highlight strategies and design approaches that will advance GSI implementation.  

Figure 1 ‐ GSI Best Management Practices
 Download full version (PDF): Newark Greenstreets Initiative

About Together North Jersey
TOGETHER NORTH JERSEY is an unprecedented planning initiative currently nearing completion in the 13-county North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority region of New Jersey. Through open forums Together North Jersey and its members are in the process of creating a comprehensive and balanced plan that invests in the region’s existing communities to make housing, jobs, educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities  more easily accessible to most residents while reducing dependence on cars.

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