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Developing Syracuse Series VI: Water forum

So you want to develop a business in Syracuse?

VI: Water management forum held at Roji Tea Lounge

Syracuse as the "Emerald City" is a vision. And so it remains, as city, county and state codes in regard to sustainable green infrastructure building solutions have not yet changed. The key word is "yet."

About 20 people gathered at the Roji Tea Lounge in downtown Syracuse last week for a "how to" implement green infrastructure in the city.

Besides ham and eggs, green can be many things, such as cleaner, renewable energy systems. Specifically, this group was concentrating its efforts on water. And the timing couldn't be more perfect, as the city's water infrastructure is sorely in need of an update. A recent New York Times article reported that nationally the water infrastructure is about the same age, and much of it is failing.

Essentially, the forum participants were rethinking how water is gathered, moved and used. That's rainwater, treated water and wastewater. The cycle of water use and reuse.

"Green infrastructure refers to ecological systems, both natural and engineered that act as living infrastructure. Green infrastructure elements are planned and managed primarily for storm water control, but also exhibit social, economic and environmental benefits." wcel.org.

What this means is basically using plant-life as part of a water management system and rethinking drainage or the flow with the use of permeable surfaces. Impermeable surfaces came into vogue replacing gravel, which could be dangerous (falls), harder to maintain and dirty, too. But often it results in costly water collection systems needed to divert water, rather than let it seep into the ground naturally, which is also less costly.

Codes must evolve

Peter King, of King and King Architects, said that New York's codes are based on the International Codes Council (ICC), and it is his understanding that ICC is also looking to evolve. King suggested 617 West Street be used as a pilot program, after David Colbert from Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection demonstrated that county, state and city codes don't allow for green infrastructure solutions at this time.

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