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Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC) - 2008

Intern Julia Leung and CENYC supervisor Lenny Librizzi stand next to a rainwater harvesting system installed adjacent to a brick building in New York City
Intern Julia Leung and CENYC Supervisor
Lenny Librizzi pose next to a rainwater
harvesting system

Intern Julia Leung is a junior at Cornell University, majoring in Environmental Engineering. CENYC is a non-profit organization under the auspices of the New York City mayor's office. One of CENYC's program areas is in promoting community gardens, and the Council requested an intern to prepare a "how-to" manual on rainwater harvesting at NYC's community gardens. Rainwater harvesting keeps stormwater runoff out of the city's combined sewer system and helps to reduce the amount of flow in combined sewer overflow discharge events. In addition, the captured rainwater is used for irrigation in the community gardens in place of potable water. Ms. Leung researched rainwater harvesting systems, assisted in the construction of systems, visited community gardens throughout the city, and developed the manual. The manual is very user friendly and contains all the information needed to design, construct and maintain a rainwater harvesting system. The manual includes many photos of plumbing fittings, tools, system components and completed systems. Ms. Leung walks the reader through the math in calculating the amount of runoff expected from a roof and in calculating the size of the storage tank. The CENYC website has links to a PDF version and a wiki page at: www.cenyc.org/openspace/rainwater. Potential environmental benefits of this manual are likely to be significant as "green infrastructure" interest in stormwater management increases.