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by Elizabeth DeCelles & Erin Hathaway

Great Ecology attended the 4th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop in New York City in June. The interactive forum focused on brownfield restoration and redevelopment in the Northeast. Over 300 consultants, economic development councils, members of the New Jersey Business Action Center, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, real estate representatives, as well as brownfield experts from Colorado, Missouri, Michigan, and Texas attended the event.

During the event, Great Ecology was honored to receive the Design with Nature, Certificate of Merit for the Croton Water Filtration Project, a groundbreaking water treatment facility!

As the first water treatment facility in New York City and the largest green roof in the country, the project received the esteemed Design Award of Excellence in 2008 from the NYC Public Design Commission! We are proud to be a part of the incredible project team including Grimshaw Architects, Ken Smith Workshop, and Rana Creek and are eagerly anticipating the project’s completion!

The water treatment facility will be located underground the Van Cortlandt Park, reducing the impact on the landscape and allowing the public to enjoy the nine-acre space. The facility combines water resource management and green infrastructure with amenities and public access. A driving range, clubhouse with a second green roof, bioswlaes, and constructed wetlands surrounding the tree boxes and parking will all be located on the nine-acre roof.

Our design team envisions reducing the impacts of the treatment facility through water resource management and green infrastructure. Our challenge is to collect, clean, and store water on site. The design minimizes stormwater runoff, increases flood water holding capacity, reduces or eliminates discharge of water into the combined sewer, and reduces the use of potable water on site by the reuse of retained storm and ground water.

Great Ecology views the surplus of water onsite as an opportunity to creatively demonstrate progressive stormwater management techniques while simultaneously establishing unique wetland habitat features. These habitat features will not only clean the site’s air and water, but will also attract diverse bird, plant, and invertebrate species, increasing the integrity and biodiversity of this urban ecosystem. In addition, the site will educate the public about the nature and value of our urban ecosystems.

Back to the conference…The Keynote Speaker, Deputy Secretary for Economic Development Leecia Eve, discussed the ambitious efforts to strengthen the economic viability of regions across the Empire State. Several officials in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration including Megan Daly rounded out the roster of impressive speakers.

The plenary panel lead an insightful discussion about the efforts of the New Jersey Business Action Center and Connecticut to grow business and increase sustainable communities. Beth Barton, Esq. detailed Connecticut’s innovative liability protections for brownfield developers and Dan Walsh of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation (MOER), stressed the importance of municipalities leading brownfield redevelopment efforts. MOER is the nation’s first successful municipally run brownfields cleanup program.

Construction on the Croton Water Treatment Facility is underway and we look forward to the completed project! If you are interested in project updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the most recent updates.

Please visit the Northeast Sustainable Communities Workshop website for more information.