Bluebelt Presented by Bianca Cardaci, Christina Gioeli, Kristin Lamonte, Gabriella Leone, & Stefanie Tozzi
What is the Bluebelt? The Staten Island Bluebelt is a manmade storm water management system that can be found in about one third of Staten Island’s land area. The Bluebelt system consists of 16 individual watersheds that cover over 10,000 acres of land. Each watershed contains a variety of Best Management Practices (BMPs) which are natural drainage corridors, such as constructed wetlands, streams and detention basins.
Watersheds A watershed is a geographic area from which water drains into a particular waterway. Water enters the regular storm water drains and then enters the Bluebelt system where it is sifted through a series of streams and ponds that contain it, purify it and slow it down. There are 16 separate watersheds that offer ecologically sound and cost-effective storm water management.
Best Management Practices BMPs are engineered facilities that provide flood control, water quality improvement and habitat preservation. Each BMP is individually designed to imitate nature and preserve all natural processes in its surrounding area. There are now fifty completed BMPs, including 22 storm water wetlands with extended detention basins, 18 outlet stilling basins, 3 pond retrofits, 6 stream restorations and 1 sand filter.
How does the Bluebelt work? A. Restoration/Retrofit – A retrofit is the incorporation of an already existing pond or riverbed into the water management system. For example, Mill Pond was dredged to remove accumulated sediments, and extensive plantings were installed. The entire 950-acre Richmond Creek watershed flows into this one-acre pond.
How does the Bluebelt work? B. Constructed Pocket Wetland - filters storm water discharge from storm sewer pipes, which drains into a tributary area.
How Does the Bluebelt Work? C. Outlet Stilling Basin- Accepts water from the storm sewer system by means of a pipe and reduces its velocity. This speed reduction minimizes the danger of water erosion in sections of the stream.
How does the Bluebelt work? D. Culvert - prevents the flooding that plagues stream crossing. The main culvert, Richmond Town Bridge, marks the spot where fresh water and tidal water meet.
How Does the Bluebelt Work? E. Stream Restoration – Stream banks are stabilized with materials such as boulders and log-shaped rolls filled with coconut husk fibers. To reduce velocities of water within the channel, the stream is reconstructed with a pool/riffle morphology that also encourages aquatic life.
How does the Bluebelt work? F. Underground Sand Filter – A concrete box that was built below ground through which storm water is directed and filtered. The box contains two chambers, wet and dry. The wet chamber captures sediment and floatables. Once it’s captured it overflows through the weir (dam) into the sand and gravel (dry chamber) where it is filtered. Then it flows from storm sewer into the outlet stilling basin and into Richmond Creek.
How does the Bluebelt work? G. Extended Detention Basin - helps to manage the storm water runoff from an area of about 450 acres. The pond, a half-acre in size during dry weather, expands during heavy storms and detains the peak of the storm water flow. This basin is a “last resort” and is located at the end of the Bluebelt system.
Water Quality Sediments filtered from the water in each BMP are tested for heavy metals. RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) gives the EPA the ability to control hazardous waste such as: silver, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, mercury, lead, and selenium. The Bluebelt water is below the RCRA required levels. Traces of barium were found in the storm water, which is thought to be a result of tire wear. Although the water is filtered so that it is cleaner when it exists each BMP into Raritan Bay & the Atlantic Ocean, it is non-potable.
Maintenance Preservation of watersheds is necessary for them to perform their functions of conveying, storing, and filtering storm water. Maintenance of the BluebeltBMPs requires controlled water flow and filtration, aesthetic appeal, safety, and pest control. A main component of Bluebelt Maintenance is the Vactor truck. It vacuums debris, and uses a high-powered hose that is capable of flushing clogged pipes, cleaning structural chambers and power washing sediment-laden surfaces. BMPs require a periodic removal of sediment every two years.
Bluebelt Budget More than $350 million has been invested in Staten Island's Bluebelts with more than $220 million currently planned for the next 10 years. The City of New York has purchased approximately 325 acres of wetland property on the South Shore for the system. Since its beginning, $300 million has been invested in sewer capital projects in the South Shore’s Bluebelt watersheds, along with $50 million for drainage improvements and wetland restoration work in the Bluebelt system itself. As of 2007, the city of New York has saved over $80 million dollars as a result of the Bluebelt system.
Importance of the Bluebelt "Through the success of the Bluebelt program, New York City has adopted this approach in their Plan NYC 2030 as a means of improving climatic, infrastructural and demographic challenges in the future." - NYWEA President Bruce G. Munn The faster Staten Island urbanizes, the greater the need for the Bluebelt is. Streets and rooftops increase the rate, velocity and volume of surface water runoff, meaning there is more water gathering and less places for it to go. Watersheds temporarily store the flood waters, while wetlands help protect adjacent and downstream property owners from flood damage.
Success of the Bluebelt In 2004, Hurricane Ivan passed through the region without disrupting the Bluebelt system; this is a testament to its success. The Bluebelt can only be overwhelmed by a “Hundred-Year” storm, meaning a storm that generates 10 inches of rain and has a 1% chance of happening every 100 years. “[The construction of the Bluebelt is] Basically building something to mimic Mother Nature, and that’s what’s happening. So that tells us it’s successful…that what we’re trying to do is actually happening.” – James Rossi, Bluebelt Field Manager The Bluebelt encourages biodiversity because it simulates nature and provides habitats for indigenous species, such as fish.
Success of the Bluebelt Before After South Richmond intersection
Future Bluebelts The DEP is projected to install three new Watersheds in Midland Beach, South Beach and then Oakwood Beach. The Midland Beach Watershed (AKA New Creek) is projected to cost $37.5 million, and has a projected savings of $39 million in comparison of putting sewers in for the same area. On the Northern Shore of Staten Island, there is a plan to reconstruct wetlands in Snug Harbor. There are also expansion plans for Queens and the Bronx.
Work Cited "Clear Waters Magazine Honors DEP’s Staten Island Bluebelt Program." 25 Jan. 2010. http://home2.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/press_releases/10-08pr.shtml Rossi, James, and James Garin. "Successful Maintenance of Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management: Staten Island Bluebelt." Hazen and Sawyer Environmental Engineers & Scientists. 2009. http://www.hazenandsawyer.com/publications/successful-maintenance-of-green-infrastructure-for-stormwater-management/. Gumb, Dana, and SandeepMehrotra. "Staten Island Bluebelt Program: A Natural Solution to Environmental Problems." May-June 2001. http://home2.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/press_releases/10-08pr.shtml http://www.asla.org/lamag/lam05/november/ecology.html Rossi, James, Dana Gumb, SandeepMehrotra, Deeya Deb, and Brian Henn. The Staten Island Bluebelt : A Case Study in Urban Stormwater Management. Rep. NOVATECH, 2007. Print.