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Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC) - 2009

With a tiered water fountain and high rise buidings in the background, a smiling, mature man in a business suite and red tie poses on the treadle pump built by intern Michael Fenley
Bob Kafin, CENYC Chairman of
the Board takes a turn at Michael
Fenley's treadle pump

Intern Michael Fenley is a Civil Engineering master's degree student at Syracuse University. 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 educating the public. CENYC hosted an intern in 2008 to prepare a "how-to" manual on designing and building rainwater harvesting systems. 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. Surveys of gardeners prompted numerous requests for an inexpensive, simple, yet durable pump able to operate without electricity or fuel. Mr. Fenley, who has a strong interest in design, researched different pumps and found a foot-operated "treadle" pump design. Modifications to the design were made, and the pump was constructed for approximately $200, using readily available materials and tools. Step by step instructions with detailed photos were prepared and are included as an appendix to the How-to manual prepared in 2008. The treadle pump will travel to numerous conferences and will be in use at the Walt Shamel community garden in Brooklyn. The pump is expected to continue attracting a lot of attention and will spur additional interest in community gardening and rainwater harvesting. Potential environmental benefits of this manual and treadle pump are likely to be significant as green infrastructure continues to develop as an important, cost-effective stormwater management tool. The CENYC website has links to a PDF version and a wiki page at: www.cenyc.org/openspace/rainwater.


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