Date of Award


Degree Type



Environmental Science


John Van Buren


This past semester I have was given the privilege of working with an organization that is at the forefront of environmental protection and combating environmental injustices. This organization, the Bronx River Alliance, it fighting a battle against those that believe minorities and low-income groups have less of a right to live in a safe and healthy environment. The Bronx River Alliance created a set of guidelines and principles to operate under and then proceeded to support and develop projects as concrete solutions to environmental degradation in the Bronx. One of these projects, which is growing substantially, is the SWIM coalition. The coalition is currently comprised of 47 different sponsor organizations. These organizations consist of all types of activist groups in the tri-state area, including those which claim the environment as their central issue and others fighting for broader social justice concerns. The name SWIM is an acronym for Storm Water Infrastructure Matters, and represents the coalition’s goal of making much of the water in New York City safe enough for swimming. One of the major sources of pollution in city waterways is the result of poorly planned and inadequate sewer and stormwater systems. The coalition is working to rectify these problems by raising awareness of the issue, pressuring politicians for better legislation, and aiding in the restoration of highly-polluted waterways.

This paper will first examine the problems within the storm water infrastructure and the current state of the water in New York City. Secondly, this study will look at the many possible solutions for properly managing stormwater. These include practices already in place in the city and strategies used in other cities which have potential for application in New York City. Additionally, these plans will be critiqued for their practicality and validity in solving the problem of New York’s polluted water systems.