Going Green: Funding stormwater management
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The 50-kilowatt solar panel array stretching out across the roof of this water storage tank is producing all the electrical power needed to operate the City of Syracuse’s Westcott Reservoir.
The solar panel system and this 56-kilowatt hydro turbine will generate $40,000 to $50,000 a year in revenue, according to Matthew Marko of C H 2 M Hill engineering,
Matthew Marko, Vice-President of CH2M Hill Engineering said, “The Environmental Facilities Corporation, at the time, was instituting a new green innovation grant program to allow green infrastructure like this project to be adapted into water utilities."
Matt Driscoll, President and CEO of NYS Environmental Facilities Corp. said, “New York State is very interested in reducing energy consumption statewide and as it relates to projects that are either drinking water facilities or wastewater facilities, they consume lots of energy. So there’s a great advantage to embrace green technology using solar panels or in this case micro turbines that can help take these facilities off line and that’s the case in Syracuse, N.Y. and the tanks constructed there.”
Matt Driscoll said they have two priorities, “One is how we better address energy consumption for wastewater and drinking water facilities throughout our state and second is how do we educate and inspire communities to use green technology as they address their stormwater management techniques.”
The earlier grant program focused on using alternative resources for power production, now the Environmental Facilities Corporation has funding available strictly for green solutions to stormwater management, especially for older cities.
“Their infrastructure is as old and a combined sewer overflow event can happen in a number of cities, older cities like Rochester, Buffalo, Utica, Albany and New York, the list goes on and on that deal with these issues and so it’s important for us to think creatively how we can better manage that stormwater from entering that system and then creating an event which in turn means you’ll have a discharge (of sewage and polluted water) into your waterways,” said Driscoll.
The $20 million grant program is part of Governor Cuomo’s Consolidated Funding Application process.