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Onondaga County Executive Announces First Projects to Receive Funding Through $3 Million Expansion of Nationally Recognized "Save the Rain" Green Infrastructure Program
May 03, 2012

Onondaga County Executive Announces First Projects to Receive Funding Through $3 Million Expansion of Nationally Recognized
“Save the Rain” Green Infrastructure Program

County Will Seek Legislature’s Approval At May and June Sessions to Advance Fourteen Green Infrastructure Projects in Twelve Suburban Communities
Onondaga County’s award winning Save the Rain Program is expanding to suburban communities. Today, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced the selection of fourteen projects to receive financial assistance from the county’s new Suburban Green Infrastructure Program (SGIP).

This past year, the County’s Save the Rain program exceeded the County Executive’s goal of advancing fifty distinct green infrastructure projects within the City of Syracuse’s combined sewer footprint, all of which were constructed to address sewer overflows into Onondaga Lake and its tributaries. By year’s end, the Save the Rain program will be almost half way to achieving compliance with a federal court order requiring Onondaga County to capture 250 million gallons of storm water per year via the use of green infrastructure by 2018.

In January, Onondaga County’s Department of Water Environment Protection (WEP) announced a call for suburban green infrastructure projects in response to the Onondaga County Legislature’s authorization in 2011 to expand the Save the Rain program to suburban communities. While green infrastructure is being put to work in the City of Syracuse to address environmental issues associated with Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), the suburban program is targeted at projects aimed at reducing stormwater impacts on over burdened and aging sanitary sewer systems and pump stations.

“The expansion of the Save the Rain program into suburban towns and villages is great news for our community,” said County Executive Joanie Mahoney. “We have had wonderful success advancing truly innovative green infrastructure projects in Syracuse and I am excited to see so much interest in adopting those same strategies in suburban communities.”

Any community within the County’s consolidated sanitary district, but for the City of Syracuse, was eligible to apply for funding from the expanded Save the Rain program; applications were due on March 30, 2012. The proposed green infrastructure projects were vetted by the Department of Water Environment Protection, which placed a priority on advancing projects that will ultimately benefit the county owned, as well as town and village, sewage collection systems through the reduction of stormwater infiltration into aging and often leaky sewage and pump station infrastructure.

Green infrastructure manages rainfall where it lands via the use of bio-retention swales, porous pavement, tree plantings, rain barrels, and green roofs; all of which are proven to be effective in mitigating sanitary sewer overflows and water pollution.

"Last year, the County Legislature took a bold step in approving an expansion of the Save the Rain program to include suburban communities. I would like to thank the County Executive and her team for advancing these projects to the Legislature for consideration and congratulate the candidates on their hard work in developing some very innovative and forward thinking green infrastructure projects. We look forward to reviewing and discussing the projects recommended by the County, and offering our support to those projects that meet or exceed the goals and objectives of the Save the Rain program," said Ryan McMahon, Chair of the Onondaga County Legislature

"The Water Environment Protection Department is extremely excited by the opportunity to team with local municipalities to remedy existing inflow problems using green technologies. All the projects to be funded are sound investments in better sewer system management. We feel that when completed some of these projects will deserve national recognition as the very best in class, another example of the County Executive's leadership moving our whole community on a more sustainable path,” said Tom Rhoads, Commissioner of the Department of Water Environment Protection.

For more detailed information on the County’s Save the Rain program, please visit www.SavetheRain.us. The program site contains detailed project descriptions and factsheets on each project advanced over the past two years in the City of Syracuse as well as detailed information on the thirteen projects approved for the suburban green infrastructure program.


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