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Survey Will Gather Input on Health Effects of Flooding in Hoboken

July 1st, 2015 by

Photo credit: flickr user Alec Perkins

Pumping out a flooded basement in Hoboken. Photo credit: flickr user Alec Perkins

Rutgers University and New Jersey Future are working to assess the health impacts on Hoboken residents of repeated flooding in the city. As part of the assessment, the Rutgers led-project is asking Hoboken residents to complete a Hoboken Resident Community Health and Resilience Survey. The survey is an effort to gather input about the effects of chronic flooding on health. Respondents will also have the chance to share their opinions on potential solutions to limit future flooding.

As part of post-Sandy recovery, the City of Hoboken is working on strategies to manage stormwater — a major cause of water pollution and flooding — more effectively throughout the city. When the rain falls on roofs, streets and parking lots, the water cannot soak into the ground. This causes flooding throughout the city, as well as pollution of nearby waterbodies.

The City of Hoboken is served by a combined sewer system, which collects rainwater runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater in the same pipes. Sometimes, heavy rainfall exceeds the system’s capacity, resulting in overflows that carry diluted human and industrial waste, toxic materials, and debris into streets, basements and waterways. The city’s flooding and combined sewer overflows (CSOs) can seriously affect residents’ health.

To manage stormwater runoff better, the city officials are proposing to include “green infrastructure” as part of its updated Stormwater Management Plan. Green infrastructure uses plants, soil and natural systems to manage water, reduce flooding, and create a healthier urban environment.

Using data from the survey, a team of Rutgers researchers will produce a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the proposed changes to the Hoboken Stormwater Management Plan and make recommendations to the Hoboken Planning Board and City Council concerning the potential positive and negative health impacts of the green infrastructure strategies under consideration. Results of the survey will be presented at a public forum in the fall.

This project is supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The project is being conducted by Rutgers University and New Jersey Future, under the umbrella of the New Jersey Health Impact Collaborative (NJHIC), a network of organizations that are working to promote the consideration of health outcomes as part of planning and decision-making in New Jersey.

The survey will remain open until July 15. Any questions about the survey may be directed to Teri Jover  (tjoveratnjfuturedotorg)   of New Jersey Future.

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