Green roof catches rainfall on top of school

Amy Freeze has the story
November 8, 2013 11:39:14 AM PST
Students in Brooklyn are getting a hands-on science experience and helping to keep the East River cleaner at the same time. Eyewitness News takes you to one of the largest green roofs in Brooklyn catching rainfall over the Fort Greene neighborhood.

Think of it this way, when it rains, it drains, and from where the water hits to where it flows next can make all the difference. In a low-lying, water sensitive area like Fort Greene, heavy rainfalls can cause sewage to spill into the East River. So, the DEP is now using a roof covered in plants to catch the rain before pollution happens.

"When it absorbs rainfall, it does not get into the combined sewer overflow which is our biggest water quality issue in New York Harbor," said Carter Strictland, of NYC DEP.

The DEP worked with Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School because it has one of the largest roofs in the area. Now that it's green and covered in succulent plants, it catches 5,000 gallons of water and pollutants during a 1" rainfall, plus, it's a lesson for real life on top of school!

"It's right here, all they do is walk up a flight of stairs," Said Dennis Cronin, Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School President.

The project was funded by a $250,000 DEP grant to lower pollution in the East River but as a huge bonus, it allows students the opportunity to see science in action.

"Usually in school you just learn in a classroom setting, but this is hands on learning," said Destiny Henry, a senior.

"It's beneficial in every season, in lab and classroom you are limited, here you are in the setting free and work," said Rolon Castillo, a senior.

This greenery can handle in extreme temperatures and harsh conditions and also acts as insulation system that can reduce heating and cooling costs for the school. A huge laboratory of environmental education!

"I think it's a way inspire us to be new leaders in environmental protection," Henry said.

The DEP is funding 29 different projects like this to manage storm water with $11.5 million in funding. A serious investment to make sure that Green Infrastructure is utilized.

It's a project where plants absorb more than 435 thousand gallons of storm water that falls on the rooftop each year.

It's a scenario that happens in many places around the city, a problem so big that the DEP has invested $10 billion into combined sewer overflows since 2002.