Post-Sandy, council sees need for infrastructure boost
As part of their continuing resiliency efforts, the City Council passed a package of legislation Tuesday that would help safeguard against the effects of future storms like Superstorm Sandy on infrastructure.
“We’re talking about bricks and mortar, the built environment,” said Speaker Christine Quinn, who noted other legislation has addressed “human” effects of the storm.
“It’s about the buildings and being prepared, but it’s also about making sure we do a better job responding to the human impact if this ever happens again.” Quinn noted, for instance, that the city doesn’t have a list of senior citizens who might have a difficult time evacuating.
In this package, one bill would require the city to study the use of permeable and porous pavement to reduce stormwater runoff, which flows into surrounding rivers when the combined sewer system is overrun.
“The whole concept became much more urgent post-Sandy,” said Queens Councilman James Gennaro, chair of the environmental protection committee and sponsor of the pavement bill.
Other bills would require the city to study the effects of wind on certain buildings, help prevent the backflow of sewage, and require automatic toilets and faucets be capable of operating without external power.
The Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability will create plans to make the city more resilient to natural disasters, and the Department of Buildings will develop a manual to explain flood requirements under two other laws.
The bills are the result of the Building Resiliency Task Force, which was convened following the storm last year.
“We’re trying to deal with what we learned through the tragedy of Sandy in every way we possibly could,” Quinn said.
A spokeswoman said Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sign the legislation.
Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders