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Dumpsters To Visualize Stormwater In Gowanus


Blue dumpsters with green wraps on trees, urban setting.

If you're walking around the Gowanus neighborhood, its hard to miss these brightly painted dumpsters with newly planted trees sticking out. Gowanus Canal Conservancy, a community-based non-profit and Alloy, a design focused real estate development company, have partnered to bring this art installation to Gowanus streets.

Each dumpster is the visual representation of 2,000 gallons of water, or the approximate volume of stormwater a streetside bioswale can manage. The Gowanus Canal receives about 377 million gallons of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) annually, much of which is from stormwater runoff entering the sewer system when it rains. City agencies, property owners and developers within the watershed, landscape architects, and environmental groups like the Gowanus Canal Conservancy are exploring green infrastructure solutions such as streetside bioswales and rain gardens to prevent stormwater from entering the sewer system and ultimately ending up in the Canal. The City will also be installing CSO tanks that will collectively detain up to 12 million gallons of CSO that will get pumped to the wastewater treatment plant once the rain has passed. Imagine 6,000 of these dumpsters stacked on top of each other. That's the volume of CSO these tanks will be detaining.

There are four dumpsters at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy's pop-up nursery at 431 Carroll Street, and six more parked in front of businesses dedicated to spreading the message. The dumpsters themselves are nurseries for future Gowanus street trees. The trees will be planted throughout the neighborhood at the end of the art installation this fall.

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