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About Our Work

"SWIM Coalition is a leading voice in ensuring that all NYC waters achieve the Clean Water Act goals of fishable and swimmable. Addressing water quality issues and advocating for lasting solutions to our over burdened sewer systems requires both the time and expertise that SWIM has continually provided for numerous waterfront communities, since its founding. 


Given the ongoing (20 billion gallons a year) CSO problem and increasing precipitation levels, Storm Water Infrastructure Matters just as much now as ever before."  -Willis Elkins, Executive Director, Newtown Creek Alliance

Image: Coney Island fishing, Betty Tsang

Our Mission


Stormwater Infrastructure Matters (SWIM) is a coalition dedicated to ensuring swimmable and fishable waters around New York City through natural, sustainable stormwater management practices, both green and grey infrastructure, in our neighborhoods.


We strive to:

  1. Rectify historic injustices and inequitable burdens from water quality polluting infrastructures, through the collective visioning of clean water policies that provide Just Transitions to regenerative systems, including green infrastructure, that adapt to climate change and sea level rise; and

  2. Create the opportunity for the use of New York City’s waters and waterfront for social, educational, and economic benefit of its residents, including environmental justice communities.



Swimmable and fishable waters for all New Yorkers.



  1. Facilitate the implementation of sewage and stormwater runoff pollution reduction/prevention policies, plans, and other strategies to achieve clean, healthy, fishable and swimmable water quality in New York City and the NY Harbor.

  2. ​​Support and advance integrated watershed management strategies for NY Harbor - inclusive of nature-based and green infrastructure solutions - that are sustainable, climate change resilient, and just/equitable in their implementation.

  3. Grow and strengthen a diverse and inclusive New York City/Harbor-wide coalition of community and water-body based advocates and stakeholders to elevate and connect local priorities with network-wide responses.

How We Work


SWIM affects change through policy, education, outreach, and monitoring. We ensure timely dissemination of important water-quality related information to members and waterway stakeholders through our website and communications, review and analyze complex legal documents and processes, create easy-to-understand digests and fact sheets, and meet with waterway stewards and policymakers regarding sustainable water-quality improvement practices and policies. 


Through our public meetings and Clean Water Steward community workshops, we provide a city-wide forum for New Yorkers to share their stories, information, and concerns regarding our local waterways. We also host academic, arts, and civic organizations, invited guest speakers, and government agencies to present new programs and initiatives at our quarterly public meetings.

All are welcome to attend our public meetings. If you have an idea or would like to suggest an agenda item, please contact us.

SWIM informs and empowers community stakeholders

Sharing accurate information and timely educational tools with the public and among our member organizations.

Empowering the public as local partners in design, planning, and long-term stewardship of our local waterbodies.​

Fostering a meaningful public participation process for water quality planning, Clean Water Act and other public program implementation, post-construction monitoring and maintenance.

SWIM effects change through policy

Creating incentives for green infrastructure on private properties and ensure that existing incentives are accessible and effective.

Advocating for policies and regulations that advance sustainable stormwater management.

SWIM analyzes policies and monitors implementation

Tracking implementation of public water quality improvement programs, like the CSO Long Term Control Plans (LTCPs) and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permit.

Analyzing public policies on water quality improvement and interpreting technical language into layperson’s language for easier access by community stakeholders.

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