Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan 2008 for New York City

The 2008 Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan was New York City's first comprehensive analysis of the costs and benefits of alternative green infrastructure methods for controlling stormwater. The product of an interagency task force, this plan provides a framework for testing, assessing, and implementing small installations to control stormwater at its source, such as source controls, green infrastructure, low impact development, best management practices, or BMPs.

The plan analyzes the land uses in NYC that currently contribute most to stormwater runoff, such as developed lots, streets, sidewalks, and other impervious surfaces. This report explores the feasibility of source controls such as rooftops that store rainfall and slowly release it to the sewers; planted or “green” roofs that store rain in soil and use some of it in plants; roadway alterations that allow runoff to soak or infiltrate into the ground; and rain barrels or cisterns that can store water from downspouts.

The three-part strategy to reduce stormwater runoff and prevent untreated discharge from entering waterways during storms is to: implement the most cost-effective and feasible controls, resolve the feasibility of promising technologies, and explore funding options for source controls. The ultimate goal of the plan is to create a source control network to detain or capture over one billion additional gallons of stormwater per year.

The report calls for immediate actions that will require source controls, as well as outlines further study of different technologies and approaches to funding future needs. Updates to the plan every two years will allow policy adjustments to meet target numbers.


This plan is designed as a key step towards the PlaNYC 2030 water quality goal of being able to use 90% of New York City waterways as recreational resources.  PlaNYC 2030 was created in 2007 to prepare the city for one million more residents, strengthen the economy, combat climate change, and enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers.











Publication Date: December 2008

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  • Best practice
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