SWIM had our first public meeting of 2018 on January 31st at Pratt Institute.
Our guest speaker for the meeting was professor Elizabeth Fassman Beck, PhD of the Stevens Institute, an expert on GI, who delivered the results of a report she produced for Riverkeeper and NRDC which analyzes the way DEP is modeling and measuring the performance of the NYC GI Bioswales/Raingardens. You can read the report and the presentation document here.
SWIM Coalition's Pratt Graduate Fellow, Summer Storm Sandoval, reviewed the results of our 2017 Member Survey to highlight the causes and topics that our members want be sure SWIM addresses in 2018. You can review the survey results presentation here
We also had two break out discussions during the meeting to get input from our members and supporters on two important topics that SWIM will focus on in 2018:
Break Out Discussion 1:
New York City’s CSO alert system and how it might be improved for greater public awareness.
In 2018 SWIM will focus on ways we can help get the word out to communities about Combined Sewer Overflow events in their local waterways and alert them to:
a) conserve water so as not to inundate the the City's combined sewer system during a rain or snow event
b) be sure they don't go into the waterways for at least 24 hours in order to avoid getting sick. Recent studies indicate that recreational waterborne illnesses are associated with a substantial economic burden in the U.S. to the tune of 90 million illnesses nationwide and costs of $2.2- $3.7 billion annually.
Break Out Session 2:
Water Rate Restructuring, a stormwater management funding tool that is being implemented in cities across the country.
SWIM and our fellow advocates are calling for NYC DEP to conduct a study on how to make the stormwater charges in the water rates we pay more equitable. See a fact sheet on this topic that SWIM member organizations NYC Soil and Water Conservation District and Riverkeeper produced recently.