Camden County Green Initiatives
When rainwater is not absorbed into soil, as it normally should, it can become trapped, creating a potential health risk to anyone living in the area.
Stagnated water can produce bacterium such as, Legionella, which can escalate to Pontiac fever, via simply walking by the excess build up of wastewater. The avoidance of storm water management can also lead to a large increase in flooding, which can potentially ruin businesses and homes.
In Camden, NJ, another protruding concern is related to the state of economical unrest this city has undergone since the late 20th century. As de-industrialization has escalated since the Great Depression, the city of Camden has become relatively abandoned in terms of company engagement and/or residency. Which has led to riots and notorious gang related violence. So it is an inspirational testimony that SMART (Stormwater Management and Resource Training) has been driven enough to string together organizations, in order to treat wastewater in the midst of so much chaos.
SMART has made a strong collaborative effort to create a network of green projects throughout Camden, NJ. Some of these projects include the creation of rain gardens and/or enhancing present GI located in parks / playgrounds. In an article entitled, “Green Infrastructure,” on the Camden County MUA website, the SMART initiative includes neighborhood green and grey infrastructure projects, storm water management policy development, and green infrastructure training programs. Within its first three years, the Camden SMART initiative has resulted in the construction of 35 rain gardens and hundreds of tree plantings.
Reducing combined sewer overflows
Creating sustainable green jobs
Improving air, water and climate quality
Developing environmental policy
Increasing property values
Providing economic development opportunities
It seems as though the green-oriented transformations made within Camden can act as a foundational tool, which will become applicable to any urbanized area. In less urbanized areas, storm water management is often overlooked because storm water presents little to no apparent-problems, which are to be deemed as attention-worthy. However, if the work being carried out in Camden, NJ is referenced in developing a mandatory set of guidelines for every state / county to follow, there is an extremely high chance that flooding rates within NJ will significantly diminish, along with other wastewater related issues.
The Camden SMART Initiative was formed to improve the quality of life of people and environmental and economic health of the City of Camden. This initiative is a collaboration between the City of Camden, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, New Jersey Tree Foundation (NJTF), Cooper’s Ferry Partnership (CFP), New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), public-private partners, community organizations, and most importantly, Camden residents. Waster water treatment within the City of Camden will help increase green infrastructure job opportunities, while increasing property values throughout Camden. The increased employment from these sustainable jobs is likely to diminish crime, while attracting new residences.