Green infrastructure is an approach to wet weather management that is cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. Green Infrastructure management approaches and technologies infiltrate, evapotranspire, capture and reuse stormwater to maintain or restore natural hydrologies.
At the largest scale, the preservation and restoration of natural landscape features (such as forests, floodplains and wetlands) are critical components of green stormwater infrastructure. By protecting these ecologically sensitive areas, communities can improve water quality while providing wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreation.
On a smaller scale, green infrastructure practices include bioswales, green roofs, bioretention ponds/rain gardens, infiltration planters, trees and tree boxes, pervious pavement and rainwater harvesting for non-potable uses such as toilet flushing and landscape irrigation.
In December of 2011, City Council adopted amendments to the Erosion Control Ordinance and Zoning Ordinance to improve the aesthetic and environmental quality of Binghamton through storm water management, green infrastructure, and landscaping requirements. The amendments, which implement the recommendations of the City’s Commission on Sustainable Development, will require development projects to include green infrastructure techniques and enhanced landscaping designed to reduce the impacts of minor flooding events, reduce the burden on the sewage treatment facility, contribute to improved water quality of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers, reduce the urban heat island effect and improve the quality of life and property values of Binghamton.