Projects & Programs - Green Infrastructure Program

Implementation of Green Infrastructure for Paterson, New Jersey

The City of Paterson is known as the “Silk City” for its role in silk production during the 19th century.  With an area totaling 8.7 square miles, it is the third largest city in New Jersey and is located along the Passaic River.  The river provided power for mills in Paterson that supported the textile industry and later a firearms industry and railroad locomotive industry. The aging sewer and water infrastructure of the city struggles to meet the current demands of the community, and large areas of the city are subject to frequent flooding.  Paterson has 24 combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that discharge to the Passaic River. 

To target efforts to manage stormwater runoff and reduce the occurrence of CSOs, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Water Resources Program and the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) partnered together to completed a Green Infrastructure Feasibility Study for the City of Paterson. This study identified 20 sites where green infrastructure practices could be installed and led to the RCE Water Resources Program’s partnership with Paterson. With support from the Surdna Foundation, the RCE Water Resources Program and Paterson established a municipal action team, Paterson SMART (Stormwater Management and Resource Training) in 2015. Paterson SMART, a collaboration of stakeholders, is working to inform organizations, community members, educators, researchers, developers, and property owners about the combined sewer issue in Paterson. The stakeholders are focused on reducing CSO events, educating residents about the benefits of green infrastructure in the community, and implementing green infrastructure throughout Paterson's landscape.

The RCE Water Resources Program received funding through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection 319(h) program for $500,000 to provide technical support to Paterson SMART and implement green infrastructure projects throughout Paterson. These projects will serve as examples to the local community, municipal officials, and redevelopers of the benefits of green infrastructure and help advocate for additional green infrastructure practices to be considered for the city’s future. By March 2020, the following objectives will be completed by the project partners:

Objective 1: Empower the community-based green infrastructure municipal action team

Objective 2: Prepare engineering designs for green infrastructure practices

Green Infrastructure Information Sheet:

Objective 3: Implement green infrastructure practices


Project Funding Source: 
NJDEP 319(h) 

Christopher C. Obropta, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences 
Extension Specialist in Water Resources
Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program
14 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: 848-932-5711/Fax:732-932-8644 

Elizabeth Pyshnik
Program Associate
Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program
14 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: 848-932-6710/Fax:732-932-8644

Water Resources Program  at Rutgers NJAES