Where Does All the Water Go?

A rain garden can treat overflow stormwater.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 30, 2017) – People have been trying to manage stormwater since the days of Ancient Greece.

But some, like the University at Albany and its 11 municipal partners, have collaborated so well on this issue they are winning awards for it.

UAlbany is a member of the Stormwater Coalition of Albany County, which has just won the Erastus Corning II Achievement Award for Intermunicipal Cooperation. The other members of the coalition include: the City of Albany, Town of Bethlehem, City of Cohoes, Town of Colonie, Village of Colonie, Village of Green Island, Town of Guilderland, Village of Menands, Town of New Scotland, City of Watervliet and the County of Albany.

The award, named in honor of the Capital District Planning Commission’s first chairman, Erastus Corning II, mayor of Albany from 1942-1983, recognizes municipalities and organizations whose efforts have significantly contributed to the advancement of intermunicipal and interagency cooperation and regional planning.

The group was recognized “for sharing ideas and coordinating our compliance with New York state and federal agencies on stormwater matters,” said Associate Vice President for Finance & Administration John Giarrusso. “We’ve regularly hosted meetings here and have used our campus to demonstrate green stormwater practices like rain gardens and permeable pavement.”

If it rains in the forest, the water is soaked up by the ground. What is not problem in the forest can create havoc in developed areas with many buildings and parking lots. The water has nowhere to go, and can cause flooded roads and basements. In urban areas, the flooding waters can also carry pollutants. Rain gardens like the ones Giarrusso describes can treat overflow stormwater from a nearby parking lot; permeable pavement improves drainage.

“These award-winning initiatives demonstrate the value and benefits of working together and resonate with the Capital District Regional Planning Commission’s (CDRPC) long-standing commitment to promoting regional cooperation,” said CDRPC Chair Judith H. Breselor in announcing the awards. “We are pleased to recognize these projects and organizations through this awards program and will continue to support similar collaborations that provide services more efficiently, enhance community and economic development, help protect environmental resources and enhance our quality of life in the Capital District.”

The Stormwater Coalition of Albany County provides resources to 11 municipalities to ensure they are compliant with the Clean Water Act and State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permits.

Coalition Program Coordinator and Director Nancy Heinzen said, "The University is a much valued partner. Having an academic partner such as the University at Albany has added considerable insight and value to the work of all Coalition members. Their work and the work of others is much appreciated."

The Coalition authors joint stormwater management plans, encourages best practices and performs public outreach.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, businesseducation, public health,health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare and sociology, taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.