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An Economic Impact Analysis of Onondaga County’s Save the Rain Program June 2012

Jeremy Begay Thomas Dannan Kiyana M. Edwards Stephanie Figary


An Economic Impact Analysis of Onondaga County’s Save the Rain Program June 2012 This report has been compiled as part of a Capstone Project for the Syracuse University Maxwell School’s Masters of Public Administration program. It was commissioned by Onondaga County and carried out by a team of four MPA students.


TABLE OF CONTENTS List of Abbreviations .................................................................................................................... 3 Acknowledgements ....................................................................................................................... 4 Executive Summary ...................................................................................................................... 5 1. Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 7 Sewer Overflows, Onondaga Lake, and Litigation ..................................................................... 7 Formation of Save the Rain ......................................................................................................... 8 Green and Gray Projects .......................................................................................................... 9 Save the Rain: Achievements and Future Plans .......................................................................... 9 2. Overview of the Analysis ....................................................................................................... 11 Goal ........................................................................................................................................... 11 Objectives .................................................................................................................................. 11 3. Sustainablility of Save the Rain: The Impact on the Triple Bottom Line......................... 12 Financial .................................................................................................................................... 12 Environmental ........................................................................................................................... 12 Social ......................................................................................................................................... 12 4. A Highlight of the Impact of Nine Select Projects ............................................................... 13 Seven Selected Green Projects .................................................................................................. 14 City Parking Lot #3 ............................................................................................................... 15 Connective Corridor - Phase 1 Contract 1 ............................................................................. 16 OnCenter Green Roof ............................................................................................................ 18 Water Street: Downtown Streetscapes & Gateway ............................................................... 21 Hotel Skyler ........................................................................................................................... 23 Geddes Street - Road Reconstruction .................................................................................... 25 Creekwalk: Walton to Fayette ............................................................................................... 26 An Economic Impact Analysis of Onondaga County’s Save the Rain Program

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Selected Gray Projects .............................................................................................................. 29 Clinton CSO Storage Facility ................................................................................................ 30 Harbor Brook Interceptor Sewer (HBIS) Replacement and CSO Abatement Project .......... 31 5. General Methodology ............................................................................................................. 34 Data Sources .............................................................................................................................. 34 Impact Measurements, Cost-Benefit Modeling ........................................................................ 35 6. Evaluating the Economic Impact of Save the Rain ............................................................. 37 Establishing a Reference Case: The Conventional Alternative to Save the Rain ..................... 37 Quantitative Impact Indicators .................................................................................................. 39 Financial ................................................................................................................................ 39 Environmental ....................................................................................................................... 42 Qualitative Impact Indicators .................................................................................................... 43 Financial ................................................................................................................................ 45 Environmental ....................................................................................................................... 49 Social ..................................................................................................................................... 53 7. Recommendations and Opportunities for Future Research .............................................. 58 8. References ............................................................................................................................... 61 Appendix A:

Recommended Methods .................................................................................. 64

Appendix B:

News Articles .................................................................................................. 70

Appendix C:

Presentation ..................................................................................................... 75

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ACJ

Amended Consent Judgment

ARRA

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

ASLF

Atlantic States Legal Fund

Conventional Plan

The plan which would have been implemented prior to the 4th Stipulation

CSO

Combined Sewer Overflow

CV

Contingent Valuation

EFC

Environmental Finance Center

EPA

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

GI

Green Infrastructure

GIF

Green Improvement Fund

GPY

Gallons per Year

LEED

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design

LID

Low-Impact Development

Metro

Metropolitan Syracuse Wastewater Treatment Plant

MGY

Million Gallons per Year

NYSDEC

New York State Department of Environmental and Conservation

NYS

New York State Government

OCE

Onondaga Earth Corps

O&M

Operating & Maintenance

RTF

Regional Treatment Facility

SF

Squared Feet

SGIP

Suburban Green Infrastructure Program

STR

Save the Rain Program

SUNY-ESF

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

TBL

Triple Bottom Line

WEP

Onondaga County Department of Water and Environmental Protection

WTA

Willingness to Accept

WTP

Willingness to Pay

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The capstone team would like to extend our thanks to those people who helped make this report possible. We would like to especially acknowledge the support and feedback from Onondaga County personnel including personnel within the Department of Water and Environmental Protection. We would like to extend a special thanks to Madison Quinn and Matt Millea from the Save the Rain program, as well as the staff of the Midland RTF, Nicholas Capozza and Kelly O’Brien, for their insight and help with the collection of data. CH2M Hill and CDM/C&S, consultants for the county, also provided important data. Khris Dodson, of the Environmental Finance Center, Greg Mosure of CH2M Hill, and Maarten Jacobs of the Near Westside Initiative also provided useful information. We would also like to extend our appreciation to Professor Henry Lambright, our faculty adviser for this project, and Prof. Peter Wilcoxen of the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University, and Prof. David Newman of SUNY-ESF for providing very importance guidance and feedback for this report.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This analysis, conducted as a capstone project towards the Masters of Public Administration degree at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, evaluates the economic impacts of the Save the Rain program on the local economy of Onondaga County. By comparing the estimated value of STR against the probable economic value of a conventional plan, this analysis looks at the benefits of water resource management systems that utilize balanced gray and green infrastructure as compared to traditional infrastructure, namely Regional Treatment Facilities, as they apply to Onondaga County. We determine that while there are a number of potential quantitative and qualitative benefits for these new technologies over the originally proposed plan, quantifying these precisely is difficult due to the newness of STR and the relative lack of prior research on GI. Quantifying the economic impacts of the entire program, in particular the indirect impacts, has proved to be beyond the scope of this project. Alternatively, we will highlight nine projects which have been fully constructed and exemplify the diverse range of the STR technology. In examining the total economic impacts of the program, the county would have spent $0.61 per gallon of water saved under the conventional plan. We cannot obtain a cost-per-gallon-saved under STR since much of the construction is still on-going and the operating and maintenance costs of these alternative technologies are as-yet unknown. We have also developed recommendations for improving STR and maximizing its economic impact: 

Develop a strategy for implementing GI projects

Develop a comprehensive database of STR costs and benefits in order to better quantify results of the program

Institute a standardized system for evaluating results of the program

Increase inclusion of women and minorities in the workforce

Expand use of Onondaga Earth Corps

Integrate GI technology that has been proven to be cost-effective and economically viable into county building codes

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1. INTRODUCTION Sewer Overflows, Onondaga Lake, and Litigation Onondaga Lake, located to the immediate northwest of the City of Syracuse, New York, holds immense historical importance for the Iroquois Confederacy1 and was a popular tourist resort and transportation hub up until the early 1900s. Despite this, it has often been considered one of the most polluted lakes in the United States. In the 19th century, industries began using the lake as a dumping site for toxic waste, and, later in the decade, wastewater from the local municipalities began contaminating the lake.2 Swimming was banned in 1940, and by the early 1970s, fishing was also banned. Despite the decline of industrial waste inputs after the Clean Water Act of 1972, municipal wastewater from the county’s Metropolitan Sewage Treatment Facility (Metro) and an aging combined sewage and stormwater sewer system remain problems through the present.3 During periods of heavy precipitation, the system overflows, resulting in combined sewer overflows (CSOs) which dump raw sewage into Onondaga Lake and its tributaries. In 1988, the Syracuse-based Atlantic States Legal Foundation (ASLF) joined with the State of New York and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to bring an unprecedented lawsuit against Onondaga County to prevent raw sewage overflows from polluting Onondaga Lake and to reduce pollutant loadings, namely phosphorous, from the Metro plant.4 The matter resulted in a consent judgment in 1989, where the County commissioned a series of engineering and scientific studies for upgrading Metro and dealing with the CSO.5 In 1998, this judgment was amended to incorporate a 15-year conventional master plan which employed exclusively “gray” infrastructure including upgrades of the existing Metro plant and combined sewer system and the construction of four new Regional Treatment Facilities (RTFs) for managing CSOs.

1

Jeannette Cook, Within a Four Mile Square: A History of the Onondaga Nation (Xlibris, 2002). New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Onondaga Lake Superfund Site. Adapted from the State of Onondaga Lake Report 2010 by the Onondaga Lake Partnership and the Onondaga Lake Watershed Progress Assessment and Actions Strategies by the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board and the Onondaga Lake Partnership, http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8668.html (accessed May 20, 2012). 3 National Resource Defense Council, Rooftops to Rivers II: Syracuse, NY, 2010, Syracuse, NY-2. 4 National Resource Defense Council, Rooftops to Rivers II: Syracuse, NY, 2010, Syracuse, NY-2. 5 Atlantic States Legal Foundation. Amended Consent Judgment Summary, N.D.G., 1. 2

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Formation of Save the Rain Under new leadership in 2008, the County government, along with the DEC, ASLF, and Onondaga Nation, pressed the courts to allow for an extension of construction deadlines for RTFs while it re-evaluated the feasibility of these conventional projects with relation to green infrastructure (GI). On November 16, 2009, with federal court approval, they announced the fourth stipulation to the consent agreement whereby the county would use a combination of “green” and “gray” infrastructure to mitigate CSO. Thus, Save the Rain was born. The parties to the revised ACJ “concluded that the implementation of certain specific combined green and gray infrastructure projects to address the discharge of raw sewage from CSOs…will provide additional benefits as compared to the use of gray infrastructure alone as provided by the ACJ in its current form.”6 In effect, this made STR the first legally-binding GI program in the country. The original provisions for a conventional plan requiring the construction of four new RTFs were struck from the revised ACJ and it extended the deadlines for meeting pollutant reduction and CSO compliance milestones. Proponents argued that it would save the county an estimated $20M in direct costs over time, replacing obtrusive RTFs with a decentralized system of roof gardens, cisterns, and other technologies, which would also be more environmentallyfriendly and socially just.7 The county’s final target for CSOs remained the same, to “capture for treatment or eliminate…no less than 95.0% by volume, on a system-wide annual average basis, of the combined sewage generated during precipitation events,” and it was given a deadline to do so of no later than December 31, 2018. Under this plan, GI is to account for capturing 250 million gallons per year (MGY).8 Seeking a “fresh look,” newly-elected County Executive Joanie Mahoney sought a number of outsiders to advise her on developing alternatives to RTFs.9 The county eventually contracted

6

United States District Court, Fourth Stipulation Order Amending the Amended Consent Judgment, November 16, 2009, Section 22. 7 Onondaga County, Grannis, Mahoney Announce Historic Onondaga Lake Agreement, November 16, 2009. 8 Onondaga County, New York, Save the Rain Program, 2010-2018 Green Infrastructure Plan, CH2M Hill (Updated January 2012), 1. 9 Tim Knauss, Activists’ Persistence on Sewage Pushed Onondaga County to ‘Go Green’, Post-Standard [Syracuse, NY], January 18, 2010.

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with the Colorado-based firm CH2M Hill to oversee construction of green projects and with CDM/C&S to oversee gray projects. Green and Gray Projects It is important to stress that STR is a combination of green and gray projects; green projects decrease the amount of stormwater entering into the sewer system, while the gray projects address how water in the sewer system is handled. GI alone could not mitigate all of the CSO alone. There are also secondary benefits, beyond reducing CSO and pollutants, to these newer technologies including social justice issues, aesthetics, and environmental protection. GI, as defined in the 2009 ACJ, is “a combination of management approaches and technologies that utilize, enhance, and/or mimic the natural hydrologic cycle processes of infiltration, evapotranspiration and reuse. GI approaches can include, but are not limited to, wetlands, green roofs, trees, tree boxes, rain gardens, vegetated swales, infiltration planters, permeable pavements, vegetated median strips, re-forestation/re-vegetation, and protection and enhancement of riparian buffers and flood plains.”10 GI is a more decentralized stormwater management process than traditional treatment facilities. Gray infrastructure comprises “the more traditional concrete and steel engineering technologies such as tunnels, pipes, storage basins, treatment facilities and sewer separation.”11 Under STR, gray projects include underground storage facilities, sewer separation, and rebuilding some of the sewer infrastructure, which dates back to the 19th century. A key difference with the underground gray projects over RTFs is that there is generally no need for land acquisition, the aboveground land is usable, and the plans are less intrusive. A good example within STR is the Trolley Lot parking lot which is being reopened above the underground Clinton Storage Facility.

Save the Rain: Achievements and Future Plans As of June 2012, STR has completed or is in the process of completing 140 green projects and over 30 gray projects. The county is planning to begin construction on 59 more projects this year

10

United States District Court, Fourth Stipulation Order Amending the Amended Consent Judgment, November 16, 2009, Section 18. 11 United States District Court, Fourth Stipulation Order Amending the Amended Consent Judgment, November 16, 2009, Section 18.

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and anticipates that by the end of 2012 it will be almost halfway to achieving full compliance with the ACJ requirements on CSO abatement.12 An important strategy to note is that STR works in conjunction with planned or existing infrastructure projects and does not initiate new construction; that is, instead of going out and tearing out well-functioning infrastructure, the county targets projects which were already in need of renovation.13 This is a very efficient way of conducting the program. While it was originally created in 2009 for certain parts of the city where runoff into Onondaga Lake is greatest, the county has recently launched a number of suburban projects with funding from the county government. These projects will not affect runoff into Onondaga Lake, but will help prevent sewer backups and flooding in the suburbs.14 Several county officials indicated in the course of interviews that they envision that, with the growing awareness of STR and increasing public education on new green and gray technologies, this innovation will likely continue beyond the 2018 deadline and will become a part of the normal decision-making process for county infrastructure needs.

12

Onondaga County Department of Water and Environmental Protection, Onondaga Lake ACJ Compliance Program Monthly Report, April 2012, 5. 13 Madison Quinn, interview by authors, May 24, 2012. 14 Rick Moriarty, Save the Rain Program in Syracuse Will Also Reach Suburbs,� Post-Standard [Syracuse, NY], May 7, 2012.

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2. OVERVIEW OF THE ANALYSIS This analysis, which is conducted as a capstone project towards the Masters of Public Administration degree at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, will evaluate the economic impacts of the Save the Rain program on the local economy of Onondaga County. The report is presented for county officials, but is written in such a way as to be accessible to members of the public and outsiders.

Goal The primary goal of the project was to provide the county with the best advice, information, and analysis of the economic impacts of STR. Our team sought to determine the overall benefits of investing in water resource management systems that utilize balanced green and gray infrastructure compared to traditional infrastructure as they applied to the county’s case.

Objectives Four primary objectives for the project were identified: 1. Identify the economic impact indicators of green and gray infrastructure developed by the Save the Rain Program relative to the county’s previous plans, which focused on the use of RTFs and other exclusively gray infrastructure 2. Develop a quantitative cost-benefit model for evaluating the economic impacts of STR 3. Identify methods of evaluating economic impacts of STR that were not readily quantifiable given the scope of the project and available data 4. Develop a final proposal that highlights the current economic impacts of Save the Rain investments based on the Triple Bottom Line of sustainability

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3. SUSTAINABLILITY OF SAVE THE RAIN: THE IMPACT ON THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE Save the Rain’s vision encompasses the use of GI as a mechanism to position Onondaga County as a leader in the use of environmentally sustainable solutions for the reduction of stormwater pollution. While the projects implemented by STR are specifically designed to reduce combined sewer overflows, they also provide a plethora of benefits that are beyond direct financial costbenefit calculations. As such, these investments may provide a significant return on investment to the public as well as the environment. In order to capture the total extent of the economic impact of STR, we must consider its projects in the context of the “three pillars of sustainability:” the triple bottom line of financial, environmental, and social. As such, this analysis moves beyond the traditional cost-benefit analysis model to the TBL approach in order to incorporate the environmental and social values associated with STR.

Financial For a project to be economically sustainable, it must make financial sense for the parties involved. This is generally associated with turning a profit in the private sector. Therefore, the overall economic value created from low impact development (LID) must outweigh the overall cost of the traditional infrastructure. This pillar of sustainability is the primary focus of the project as a number of the environmental and social benefits associated with STR projects are not easily monetized due to the fact that they do not have direct market prices.

Environmental To have a positive impact in this category, a project must benefit the natural environment or cause the least amount of harm possible. LID as employed by STR is well-established in this regard as a form of stormwater management which mimics the natural water cycle and therefore reduces the negative impacts of stormwater runoff on water quality.

Social The social impacts of a project involve the overall strength, benefit, and growth of a community. The social benefits of LID in the case of STR include human health benefits, increased educational opportunities, improved land use, and heightened reputation for the county. An Economic Impact Analysis of Onondaga County’s Save the Rain Program

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4. A HIGHLIGHT OF THE IMPACT OF NINE SELECT PROJECTS A large number of projects under Save the Rain are only recently completed, are still under construction, or are still being planned. As such, quantifying the economic impacts of the entire STR program, in particular the indirect impacts, has proved to be extremely difficult and beyond the scope of this project. Alternatively, we will highlight nine projects, seven green and two gray, which have been fully constructed, have an average cost per gallon captured, and exemplify the diverse range of new green and gray infrastructure technology. These projects illustrate the variety in the indirect benefits of STR as a whole.

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Seven Selected Green Projects As of June 2012 there were 140 green projects completed or currently under construction through STR15, all with varying cost, size, type of GI utilized, and amount of stormwater captured. Using the amount of stormwater captured to exemplify STR’s variability, the capacity of the largest project, a green street on the Connective Corridor, is 5,742,000 gallons per year (GPY). This is over 8,200 times larger than the smallest project, FlexiPave at SUNY-ESF’s Moon Library, which captures 700 GPY. Table 1: Seven Select Green Projects

Project

Green Infrastructure

City Parking Lot #3

Porous Pavement Bioretention

Connective Corridor - Phase 1, Contract 1

Green Street

OnCenter Green Roof

Green Roof

Water Street: Downtown Streetscapes & Gateway

Enhanced Street Trees Infiltration Trench Porous Pavement Cistern Bioretention Rain Garden

Hotel Skyler (GIF) Geddes Street - Road Reconstruction Creekwalk: Walton to Fayette

Porous Pavement

15

Onondaga County Department of Water and Environmental Protection, Onondaga Lake ACJ Compliance Program Monthly Report, April 2012, 5.

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City Parking Lot #3 Located at 101 Oswego Boulevard, City Parking Lot #3 was completed in 2010 at a total cost of $239,102. This projected has a capture area of 38,500 square feet (SF)16 and is expected to capture 678,000 GPY of stormwater. The GI used for City Parking Lot #3 includes an infiltration trench with 26 new trees and porous pavement around the perimeter of the parking lot. This method captures the runoff of the entire parking lot at a lower cost than fitting the entire parking lot with porous pavement. Benefits 

Improved air quality

Improved aesthetics

Reduced urban heat island effect

Improved water quality

Decreased greenhouse gases

Reduced salt use

Table 2: Effectiveness of the City Parking Lot #3 to the conventional plan

City Parking Lot #3 Cost ($)

$239,102.00

Capture (GPY)

678,000

Cost/Gallon

$0.35 Conventional Plan

Cost/Gallon

$0.61

16

“Fact Sheet: City Parking Lot #3,” Save the Rain, updated August 8, 2011, http://savetherain.us/wpcontent/uploads/2011/08/E-06-City-Lot-3.pdf

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Figure 1: City Parking Lot #3, prior to construction. Source: Project Fact Sheet

Figure 2: City Parking Lot #3, after construction. Source: Project Fact Sheet

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Connective Corridor - Phase 1 Contract 1 The central goal of the Connective Corridor improvements is to bridge the gap between Syracuse University and the business districts within the city of Syracuse. The Connective Corridor Phase 1, Contract 1, has transformed University Avenue, from Waverly to East Genesee Street, into a “green street.” This project was completed in 2011 at a cost of $948,717, and on a yearly basis, it is expected to capture 5,742,000 GPY within 326,000 SF of GI.17 As a green street, University Avenue utilizes tree trenches and porous pavement to capture stormwater and also creates an inviting area for pedestrians and cyclists. Benefits 

Increase water quality

Improved air quality

Improved aesthetics

Decreased quantity of runoff

Reduced salt use

Table 3: Effectiveness of the Connective Corridor - Phase 1, Contract 1 to the conventional plan

Connective Corridor - Phase 1, Contract 1 Cost ($)

$948,717.00

Capture (GPY)

5,742,000

Cost/Gallon

$0.17 Conventional Plan

Cost/Gallon

$0.61

17

Save the Rain, Fact Sheet: Connective Corridor Phase 1, Contract 1, updated August 5, 2011, http://savetherain.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Connective-Corridor-Phase-1-Contract-1.pdf

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Figure 5: Connective Corridor prior to construction. Source: Project Fact Sheet

Figure 4: Aerial view of Connective Corridor, Phase 1, Contract 1 after construction. Source: Project Fact Sheet

Figure 3: Aerial view of Connective Corridor--Phase 1, Contract 1 after construction. Source: Project Fact Sheet

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OnCenter Green Roof In 2011, the OnCenter Convention Center became the home of one of the largest green roofs in the Northeast. The construction of the 66,000 SF green roof cost $1,038,000 and is expected to capture 1,033,000 GPY.18 This roof is outfitted with an impermeable layer on which 11 species of sedum, a low-growing succulent, are able to grow. Benefits 

Improved air quality

Reduced Urban Heat Island Effect

Decreased quantity of runoff

Reduced energy costs

Decreased greenhouse gases

Increased longevity of roof

Improved habitat

Table 4: Effectiveness of the OnCenter Green Roof to the conventional plan

OnCenter Green Roof Cost ($)

$1,038,000.00

Capture (GPY)

1,033,000

Cost/Gallon

$1.00 Conventional Plan

Cost/Gallon

$0.61

18

Save the Rain, “Fact Sheet: OnCenter Convention Center,” updated December 30, 2011, http://savetherain.us/wpcontent/uploads/2011/08/OnCenter-Green-Roof-12-11.pdf

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Figure 6: OnCenter green roof under construction. Source: http://savetherain.us/oncenter-green-roof

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Water Street: Downtown Streetscapes & Gateway As the first of the “Gateway Projects”, STR investments have given Water Street a complete overhaul and transformation. The Gateway Projects are used to highlight the GI improvements that the City of Syracuse has made, and are strategically placed in locations that are heavily trafficked as entry points to the city. The Gateway Project and Downtown Streetscape project on Water Street involve several types of GI including porous pavements and infiltration trenches on Water Street, as well as enhanced street trees on 300 block of Montgomery Street and the 200 block of East Water Street. Combined, the downtown streetscapes and the gateway on Water Street cost $1,118,700, and are expected to capture 1,224,000 GPY.19 Benefits 

Improved air quality

Decreased quantity of runoff

Decreased greenhouse gases

Improved aesthetics

Creates public educational opportunities

Table 5: Effectiveness of Downtown Streetscapes and Water Street Gateway to the conventional plan

Water Street: Downtown Streetscape & Gateway Cost ($)

$1,022,118

Capture (GPY)

1,055,000

Cost/Gallon

$0.97 Conventional Plan

Cost/Gallon

$0.61

19

Save the Rain, “Fact Sheet: Downtown Streetscapes,” updated December 22, 2011, http://savetherain.us/wpcontent/uploads/2011/10/Downtown-Streetscapes-200-block-water-street-12-11.pdf

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Figure 7: 200 E. Water Street -- Downtown Streetscapes, before and after. Source: http://savetherain.us/downtown-streetscapes/

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Hotel Skyler Hotel Skyler is Syracuse’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standard hotel with the help of STR’s Green Improvement Fund (GIF). GIF enables STR to expand GI onto private land by offering landowners monetary assistance for implementing GI over conventional methods. Hotel Skyler, located at 609 South Crouse Ave, received $100,000 of GIF funding to utilize porous pavement for its parking lot and to install two cisterns for collecting stormwater. This project is expected to capture 137,000 GPY through the 9,800 SF of porous pavement and the two cisterns.20 The stormwater collected by the cisterns is used in the hotel operations that do not demand potable water, such as flushing of toilets. Benefits 

Reduced runoff

Improved water quality

Decrease use of potable water

Reduced salt use

Creates public education opportunity

Table 6: Effectiveness of the Hotel Skyler’s GIF project to the conventional plan

Hotel Skyler (GIF) Cost ($)

$100,000

Capture (GPY)

173,000

Cost/Gallon

$0.58 Conventional Plan

Cost/Gallon

$0.61

20

Save the Rain, Fact Sheet: Hotel Skyler, Accessed on May 25, 2012, http://savetherain.us/wpcontent/uploads/2011/08/C-58-Hotel-Skyler.pdf

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Figure 8: Hotel Skyler main entrance parking lot. The porous pavement helped contribute to the hotel earning LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Buildings Council. Source: Project Fact Sheet Source: Project Fact Sheet

Figure 9: Hotel Skyler view of parking lot from main entrance. Source: Project Fact Sheet

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Geddes Street - Road Reconstruction This project upgraded the 300 -500 block of Geddes Street to included vegetated curb extensions that collect stormwater runoff from the street. The total cost of this type of bioretention infrastructure was $203,000, and, on an annual basis, it is expected to collect 523,000 GPY within 10,220 SF of these trenches.21 The Near Westside Initiative, an organization with a mission of revitalizing the Near Westside neighborhood of Syracuse, encourages projects like this in the Near Westside where improving the aesthetics and general “greening” of the area would not have been possible without STR due to funding restrictions.22 Benefits 

Decreased stormwater runoff

Improved air quality

Increased aesthetics

Decreased greenhouse gases

Table 7: Effectiveness of Geddes Street Road Reconstruction to the conventional plan

Geddes St Road Reconstruction Cost ($)

$203,000

Capture (GPY)

523,000

Cost/Gallon

$0.39 Conventional Plan

Cost/Gallon

$0.61

21

Save the Rain, “Fact Sheet: Geddes Street Road Reconstruction,” updated July 7, 2011, http://savetherain.us/wpcontent/uploads/2011/09/GeddesStreet_FactSheet.pdf 22 Maarten Jacobs, interview with authors, June 4, 2012

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Figure 11: Geddes Street prior to construction. Source: Project Fact Sheet

Figure 10: Geddes Street with curb extensions installed. Source: STR December 2011 report

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Creekwalk: Walton to Fayette The Creekwalk is a 2.6-mile multipurpose recreational path along Onondaga Creek that begins in Armory Square and ends at the Onondaga lakefront. The Creekwalk was established to bring the community closer to Onondaga Lake and has had high reviews since its completion.23 STR was able to incorporate GI, particularly porous pavement, into the second block of the Creekwalk, spanning from Walton Street to East Fayette Street. The porous pavement was placed to capture runoff from the trail and nearby impermeable areas. In addition to the porous pavement, native vegetation was planted along the slope to prevent erosion into the creek. The project was completed in 2010 at a total cost $47,000, and is expected to capture 119,000 GPY with 7,000 SF of GI.24 Benefits 

Improved air quality

Created educational opportunities

Improved recreational opportunities

Decreased quantity of runoff

Reduced greenhouse gases

Reduced salt use

Table 8: Effectiveness of the Creekwalk to the conventional plan

Creekwalk: Walton to Fayette Cost ($)

$47,000

Capture (GPY)

135,000

Cost/Gallon

$0.35 Conventional Plan

Cost/Gallon

$0.61

23

Sean Kirst, The Onondaga Creekwalk: Blossoming with the Spring, Post Standard [Syracuse, NY], March 22, 2012. http://www.syracuse.com/kirst/index.ssf/2012/03/the_onondaga_creekwalk_blossom.html 24 Save the Rain, Fact Sheet: Creekwalk: Walton Street to E. Fayette Street, Accessed on May 25, 2012, http://savetherain.us/creekwalk-w-to-f/

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Figure 12: Creekwalk--Walton to Fayette before construction. Source: Project Fact Sheet

Figure 13: Creekwalk--Walton to Fayette after construction. Source: Project Fact Sheet

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Selected Gray Projects GI alone does not have the sufficient capacity to address the entire stormwater management issue and requires additional gray infrastructure to meet the goals of the ACJ. STR relies on gray infrastructure for the capture of 212 MGY of stormwater, and GI to capture approximately 250 MGY of stormwater, 5.3% and 6.3%25, respectively. This symbiotic relationship between innovative GI to keep stormwater out of the sewer system and smart gray infrastructure to manage stormwater once it has entered the sewer system is a key element of the STR program. To highlight this partnership, two gray projects—the Clinton Storage Facility and the Harbor Brook Interceptor Sewer Replacement and CSO Abatement Project—will be discussed further. Both of the projects capture from a high number of CSOs, 8 and 9 respectively, and comprise diverse types of gray infrastructure including, storage, interceptor replacement, and sewer separation.

25

Onondaga County, New York, Save the Rain Program, 2010-2018 Green Infrastructure Plan, CH2M Hill (Updated January 2012), 1.

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Clinton CSO Storage Facility The Clinton Storage Facility has the capacity to hold 6,000,000 gallons of stormwater during any excessive stormwater event, and this facility is projected to capture 114 MGY from eight CSOs. 26

The project, which cost a total of $70,640,000, will be primarily underground with only two

small above-ground buildings for access, maintenance, and odor control. Benefits Compared to Conventional Plan 

The facility is primarily underground –this allows for the land above ground to be used to alternate activities including city parking

After storm surges, the stormwater is redirected to Metro which has the capacity to treat stored stormwater

The stormwater receives tertiary treatment at Metro instead of the primary treatment it would receive via an RTF. This results in improved lake water quality

Benefits of “Greening the Gray” The GI components include managing the onsite runoff via bioretention basins and a green roof. 

Improved air quality

Reduced greenhouse gases

Increased water quality

Reduced Urban Heat Island

Table 9: Effectiveness of Clinton CSO Storage Facility to the conventional plan

Clinton Storage Facility Cost ($)

$70,640,000

Capture (GPY)

114,000,000

Cost/Gallon

$0.62 Conventional Plan

Cost/Gallon

$0.61

26

Save the Rain, Fact Sheet: Clinton CSO Storage Facility, updated on January 9, 2012, http://savetherain.us/clinton/

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Figure 15 (above): Clinton CSO Storage Facility Project Location Map. The facility will be located underground so much of the space above ground can still be used for other purposes. Source: STR April 2012 Report

Figure 14: Clinton Storage Facility Construction Progress, April 16, 2012. Source: STR April 2012 Report

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Harbor Brook Interceptor Sewer (HBIS) Replacement and CSO Abatement Project Located between West Fayette Street and Velasko Road on the west side of Syracuse, the Harbor Brook Interceptor Sewer (HBIS) replacement and CSO abatement project focuses on replacing the old HBIS, which was constructed in the1920s and caused flow restrictions. The new system will completely separate two CSOs. This project is expected to capture 36 MGY from nine CSOs and was expected to cost the county $21,536,849.27 It is important to note, however, that this project was considered a “shovel ready” project and received funding via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). 28 Benefits – Compared to the Conventional Plan 

HBIS is constructed underground at the same site as the proposed Harbor Brook RTFs, therefore no new land needed to be acquired

36 MGY potentially captured will be directed to Metro to receive tertiary treatment as opposed to the primary treatment that would have been performed at the RTF

The facility is primarily underground - this allows for the land above ground to be used for alternate activities

The income from the ARRA may be considered a benefit since the conventional plan might not have received such outside funding

Benefits of “Greening the Gray” The green components include 40 enhanced trees with infiltration zones and a bioretention area. 

Improved air quality

Reduced greenhouse gases

Improved water quality

Reduced Urban Heat Island

Increased aesthetics

Public educational opportunities

27

Save the Rain, Fact Sheet: Harbor Brook Interceptor Sewer (HBIS) Replacement and CSO Abatement Project, updated on December 30, 2011, http://savetherain.us/hbis/ 28 Kukenberger, R. and VanDerhoof, C. Clear waters, Wastewater Infrastructure Benefits from Stimulus Funding, Two Projects in Central New York. P. 28

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Table 10: Effectiveness of the Harbor Brook Interceptor Sewer to the conventional plan

Harbor Brook Interceptor Sewer Cost ($) Capture (GPY)

$21,536,849 36,000,000

Cost/Gallon

$0.60 Conventional Plan

Cost/Gallon

$0.61

Figure 16: New HBIS alignment through Skunk City (highlighted in yellow). Source: STR April 2012 Report

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5. GENERAL METHODOLOGY Public works projects, by their nature, have the goal of providing the greatest value to citizens. An accounting of solely the financial costs of these projects can be misleading if one is intending to illustrate the project’s value to society. Given this, this cost-benefit analysis includes not only the financial, but also the social and environmental values—the “Triple Bottom Line” (TBL)—of Save the Rain, as discussed in the third section of this report. When it is within the scope of this analysis to reasonably and accurately quantify in economic terms measures which might impact the TBL, we have done so. Otherwise, a qualitative analysis is employed in order to describe the value of STR and provide possible methodology by which the county can quantify these values given the right data. A core issue in conducting an analysis of GI is that there is a relative shortage of research about the operating and maintenance costs and the cumulative cost-benefits of GI versus conventional technology given that GI is a relatively new technology. Further, there is no single method for conducting analyses of GI.29 Being a “first mover” on municipal GI, these uncertainties are inherent for Onondaga County. Unless otherwise specified, all final totals are expressed in 2012 dollars. For present value calculations, we have used a rate of 3% because this is the average rate of inflation over time and is a considered a conservative estimate. Our research was conducted over a period of four weeks, from May 14-June 7, 2012. A final presentation on these findings was delivered on June 8 to Onondaga County personnel from WEP.

Data Sources In conducting our research, we have relied on a number of sources to inform our methodology, including:

29

Review of key scientific documents and cost calculators, many from the EPA

Interviews with environmental economists at Syracuse University and SUNY-ESF

Literature review of academic journals

Center for Neighboring Technology, The Value of Green Infrastructure, 2010, 1

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Previous analyses of GI and similar projects

Key informant interviews with a number of Onondaga County personnel including the STR Program Manager, the Deputy County Executive for Physical Services, and a WEP Sewer Maintenance Engineer

Guided tours of green and gray projects including porous pavement, green roofs, and the Midland Regional Treatment Facility

The County has provided a number of official documents which have helped inform this report, including its 2010-2018 Green Infrastructure Plan for Save the Rain, construction and operating costs for the Midland RTF, and monthly progress reports. The STR website also contains information and links to other resources which have been useful for this research.

Impact Measurements, Cost-Benefit

Figure 17: Capstone team members on a tour of the Midland RTF

Modeling To conduct a fair and transparent cost-benefit analysis, it was necessary to first establish a reference case against which to measure STR’s impact. This reference case is detailed in the Economic Impacts section. It represents our best understanding and projection of what the county’s sewer and water infrastructure would have been if the ACJ had not been revised in November 2009, which would have employed a conventional response to the problem of CSOs into Onondaga Lake. By comparing STR against this conventional plan, we can offer the best analysis of what STR’s actual impact was and of the economic soundness of STR. In conducting our research, we came across a wide range of possible measurements of the economic impact of STR. The final set of indicators is presented in the Economic Impact section.

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One frequent challenge in measuring impact is the potential for overlap and double counting. The Stratus report in Philadelphia cites the example of housing values, which may already incorporate things such as reduced energy costs, improved lighting, and aesthetic value. We have made every effort to avoid double-counting of costs and benefits in order to provide the most accurate representation of the total value of GI versus traditional infrastructure.

Figure 18: Economic impact analysis diagram for this analysis

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6. EVALUATING THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF SAVE THE RAIN Establishing a Reference Case: The Conventional Alternative to Save the Rain In 1998, Onondaga County, the DEC, and ASLF, agreed to a new consent order mandating the construction of gray infrastructure to reduce sewer overflows into the tributaries of Onondaga Lake by reducing and/or eliminating the frequency of CSO events. At the time, the projected cost of compliance for the ACJ was $380M, which later was estimated to be around $560M.30 Under this conventional plan, the County would have completed over 30 projects related to CSO abatement and reduction including upgrades to Metro, eliminating and/or decreasing the effects of CSOs on the lake and its tributaries through improvements of sewer systems including sewer separation, and a lake and tributary monitoring program.31 32 In 2006, the ACJ was revised to include the construction of conveyances and four new RTFs: one for Clinton, near Armory Square, two for Harbor Brook at State Fair Boulevard, and one for Midland.33 The plan was going to be financed by county bonds and then re-paid and maintained through user fees. The Clinton RTF was designed to treat approximately 100% of the combined sewage in the Clinton Sewer Service area, an average of 238 million gallons per year (MGY) of combined sewage, coming from 11 CSOs. The Harbor Brook RTFs were designed to capture 100% of the combined sewage from 18 CSOs, 141 MGY, in the Harbor Brook Sewer Services Area.34 The Midland Avenue Sewage Treatment Plant, the only RTF to actually be constructed, was completed in 2011 and processes an average of 180 MGY of CSO per year at a cost of approximately $128 M.35 It was originally projected to capture 100% of CSO from the seven remaining CSOs, but eventually only captured from four of the CSOs and its conveyances connected 60% of the Midland watershed.36

30

Tim Knauss, Activists’ Persistence on Sewage Pushed Onondaga County to ‘Go Green’, Post-Standard [Syracuse, NY], January 18, 2010. 31 Atlantic States Legal Foundation. Amended Consent Judgment Summary, N.D.G. 32 Onondaga County, Grannis, Mahoney Announce Historic Onondaga Lake Agreement, November 16, 2009. 33 Atlantic States Legal Foundation. Amended Consent Judgment Summary, N.D.G. 34 United States District Court, Fourth Stipulation Order Amending the Amended Consent Judgment, November 16, 2009. 35 Onondaga County Department of Water and Environmental Protection, Onondaga Lake ACJ Compliance Program Monthly Report, December 2011. 36 Khris Dodson, Save the Rain Program Overview, Presentation, Syracuse Center of Excellence, June 15, 2011.

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In this analysis, we will assume that the plan would have met all intended targets as stipulated by the 2009 revised ACJ, and no penalties would have incurred. We have approximated these costs using data from the existing Midland facility and extrapolating that to the proposed RTFs based on their projected capacity. The total projected costs of the conventional plan for CSO abatement are shown in the table below: Table 11: The projected financial cost of the conventional plan prior to the 4th Stipulation

Conventional Plan- Financial Cost Capacity (gallons per year) Construction Technical Services (Legal, management, land acquisition, etc.) Construction (hard cost) Sub-total, construction: Operation and Management Fixed annual Variable annual

Midland 196,000,000

Clinton 238,000,000

HB I 141,000,000

HB II 141,000,000

$ 7,648,316 $129,592,374 $137,240,690

$ 24,500,000 $ 97,000,000 $121,500,000

$84,060,915

$ 84,060,915

$ $

$ $

$ $

$ $

70,000 219,740

Net Present Value $139,218,236 TOTAL COST FOR CONVENTIONAL PLAN:

70,000 266,827

$123,798,927

70,000 158,078

$85,617,605

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$ 85,617,605 $434,252,373

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Quantitative Impact Indicators The county has done a number of calculations and feasibility studies for the direct quantitative impact of STR. This analysis will look at the direct costs of STR as compared to the conventional plan. In order to conduct a more comprehensive quantitative analysis to include all of the possible economic factors (including social and environmental ones), we would need to employ contingent valuation and hedonic pricing method to better approximate the non-market values of those indicators. This is beyond the scope of this four-week project. We have proposed some of these in the methodology appendix. Further, determining the precise value of some impact indicators is impossible since the planned budgets may very likely have been over- or under-estimated. Similarly, many of the STR projects have yet to be completed, so their precise budgets are unknown. However, the amount which will be spent on “smart gray� projects is closer known since all of these projects have been bid or are under contract, totaling a projected $134,955,243.37 We have estimated the total financial cost of the proposed conventional plan to be $434.3 M. These costs are projected based on assumptions of a combination of actual cost and proposed plans, given that Midland was the only actual RTF to be constructed. Together, the county would have spent $0.61 per gallon of stormwater treated under the conventional plan. This number includes construction costs and operating costs through 2018. We cannot obtain a cost per gallon saved under STR for several reasons, including the fact that much of the construction is still on-going, as well as the unknown operating and maintenance costs of these alternative technologies. Financial Construction/Start-up Costs There are two costs associated with an RTF. The first cost is considered a fixed cost, or costs that are associated with the construction of the facility.

37

Onondaga County Save the Rain Program, Gray Project Fact Sheets, 1-9.

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The actual cost of construction for the Midland RTF was $137.2M. For the Clinton RTF the cost of construction was estimated by Onondaga County to be $121.5M. In the Harbor Brook I &II plans, the costs of these projects were never explicitly stated, but the capacity was assumed to be 141 MGY. To capture the fixed cost for Harbor Brook, we used a weighted average of Midland and Clinton. Again, we figured the common denominator using the capacity and extrapolated to the rest of the cost. In either case both facilities had a construction cost of $84.1M. This brings the total construction, or “start-up” costs, under the conventional plan to $426,682,520. The start-up costs for STR, particularly the green components, are difficult to quantify in their totality, since many projects have yet to be completed. Comparing solely construction costs of STR with the conventional plan is unfair since while the start-up costs for STR might be less, the operating and maintenance (O&M) costs associated with GI might be higher. Operating & Maintenance Costs The second type of costs is variable costs, which are costs associated with the annual operation of the facility. Midland’s average annual cost of O&M is $289,740, while the proposed Clinton RTF was estimated at $336,827 annually. This latter figure was calculated using the RTF’s proposed capacity as the established baseline for output. The reason for using the capacity is because regardless of actual output, the facility would need to remain online, so the actual RTF capacity was used as the common denominator for the projected capacity. To capture the variable cost for Harbor Brook, we again used a weighted average of Midland and Clinton. In total, both facilities were estimated to have an annual O&M cost of $228,078. The total annual O&M for the conventional plan are estimated to be $7,569,853. These costs under the STR program are more decentralized and the financial burden for O&M is shifted from the county to the property owners. These costs are thus not included in the county’s financial data, and are quite difficult to quantify without more information. In general, the O&M costs for GI are different from conventional infrastructure in that GI maintenance is more labor-intensive and the costs are spread out over time. In addition, many benefits of GI depend heavily upon regular maintenance.38 In addition, since many of these

38

Center for Neighboring Technology, The Value of Green Infrastructure, 2010, 57.

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projects are so new, there is very limited data on maintenance of new green and gray infrastructure to be able to accurately compare this with the O&M costs of the conventional plan. Depreciation & Longevity The cost of depreciation is the reduced valuation of an initial investment. The depreciation costs were not accounted for in the financial cost of the conventional plan as it is a long term cost outside the scope of this analysis. Depreciation in the case of the RTFs would be seen in two ways: first is the depreciation of the facilities over time as seen in terms of normal wear and tear from natural elements. This can be quantified in terms of the lifecycle of the facility. The second type of depreciation is the depreciation of the facilities in terms of use. This can be quantified in terms of the annual output’s wear on the asset. In both cases depreciation is seen as being outside the scope of this analysis. The lifecycle of the RTFs would have been investments of 50+ years. The depreciation cost associated with the wear of the facility would have been seen as a capital reinvestment every 20 years when the facility would need to purchase new pumps to run the station. This cost would have been an estimated 20% of the original construction cost.39 Under STR, since more water is removed from the system by GI, there is general less wear and tear on the pumps and equipment. The county has not put a set figure on this amount. There is no mention of the effect of GI or alternative gray infrastructure on depreciation in the literature we reviewed for this study. Revenue Currently the county is using a variety of means to pay for STR including own source, lowinterest loans, and grants. To date, the county has brought in $120M in state, federal and ACE grants for CSO abatement. This figure includes funds that go to Midland, gray projects and other CSO projects outside the analysis. Under the conventional plan, the upgrades to Metro and the construction of additional RTFs were to be funded through county bonds and then recouped via sewer fees. The county eventually received a number of federal and state grants to construct ACJ-related projects which makes comparing the impacts impossible. The primary means of paying for GI is by using federal and state general obligation loans. They also plan to pay for 39

Nicholas Capozza, interview by authors, May 31, 2012.

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these loans via an increase in sewer rates through 2018 when the ACJ is expected to meet endline CSO compliance targets. Environmental Quantity of Runoff A key component of STR is its use of GI, which will reduce approximately 250 MGY of runoff from entering the city’s sewer system by 2018 compared to the conventional plan that only addressed water once it entered sewer system. This 6.3% reduction of runoff reduces loads to Metro and other gray infrastructures in the city, thereby reducing their operating costs compared to zero runoff reduction via the conventional plan. This amount is difficult to quantify in itself into dollar terms, however, it is a factor in operational costs and depreciation.

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Qualitative Impact Indicators The diagram on the following page illustrates the impacts of certain types of alternative technologies on TBL categories. Table 12: Qualitative Impacts of Save the Rain by type of technology

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Practice

Green Infrastructure

Permeable Pavements

Trees Planted

Bioretention & Infiltration

Rain Barrels & Cisterns

Reduces Urban Heat Island Effect

X X X

Increased Water Quality

X X

X

X

X

X

X X

Improved Habitat

X

X

Wetlands Created

X

Public Education Opportunities*

X

Job Training*

X

Opportunities for Women & Minorities

Social

X

Public Relations & Reputation

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

Creates Recreational Opportunities

Impact on the Triple Bottom Line Environmental

X

Decreased Quantity of Runoff

X

Reduced Climate Change Gases*

X

X

Improved Air Quality*

X

X

X

Increased Water Supply*

Financial

Decreases Energy Use*

X

X

X

Decreased Risk of Disaster & Other Damages

X

X X

Increases Property & Aesthetic Value

X

X

X

X

Increased Revenue*

X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

*Benefit from one of the nine highlighted projects have been quantified

Increases Longevity of Gray Infrastructure*

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Financial Employment Jobs are typically not associated with economic benefits in a cost-benefit analysis40 because the jobs created by civil works projects are usually considered a transfer of employment from one type of job to another (public or private). The transfer of jobs essentially has no net gains since a person who would otherwise be employed in a gray job is now employed in a green job. Given this, our analysis emphasizes the type of jobs created, as opposed to the job count. There are social benefits to consider in a cost-benefit analysis which are described in more detail below under Social values. Gray infrastructure projects require more specialized labor skills. The avoidance of these costs happens by shifting those jobs to green jobs. Special construction skills such as boring, tunneling, and engineering often come at a price that often limits low skilled workers from being included in the project. In contrast, green jobs create the opportunity to hire unskilled workers who would have otherwise been unemployed for jobs such as landscaping, restoration, and cleaning. The benefits of green jobs include the avoided cost of social services to the government if these potential unskilled workers who were out of the workforce. Green jobs, including those provided by STR, therefore have the capability to provide not just employment, but a crucial stepping stone to help people escape from poverty, and should be considered a poverty reduction tool. Further, GI projects are generally more labor-intensive and less capital intensive over their lifecycles than traditional infrastructure projects. Costs are spread out more evenly and involve more labor rather than capital costs. This might be the county’s preference for its spending, since these funds are now transferred from materials to direct labor.41 Job Training The presence of STR in Syracuse created a need for training in GI, but at this point it is not possible to quantify the indirect social benefits of these programs. Training opportunities have included training for engineers and architects on green infrastructure uses, training in 40

In conducting our research, this was made evident from a number of sources. For example, the TBL Assessment in Philadelphia did not include general job creation as a quantifiable benefit. 41 Dr. Peter Wilcoxen, interview by authors, May 30, 2012.

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construction practices, and training in maintenance of these projects. The Environmental Finance Center (EFC), Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC), and CNY Works are active in creating a local labor force skilled in green infrastructure. The EFC is active in four parts of the community: educational, residential, commercial, and professional. For professional development, the EFC holds conferences, including a Porous Pavement Conference last year that was sold out with 180 participants. EFC also offers a professional development series throughout the year where participants are able to gain LEED credits and other professional development credits. These series attracted 400 people in 2011, and halfway through 2012 they have already attracted 300 people; a large portion of Syracuse’s architects and engineers.42 The EFC provides fiscal support to the OEC, which has a different focus. The OEC began in 2004 and has reached 744 children so far. 43 The OEC targets disadvantaged youth, ages 16 – 20, to train them in the science, construction, and maintenance behind GI. Although the program was created before STR, STR has energized the OEC by creating a larger need for GI skills. This highly successful program increases the marketability of youth through training and improves their ability to secure jobs in the future. The OEC has completed a few demonstration projects for STR, but more importantly has entered into contracts with the city for maintaining GI. Lastly, CNY Works, and non-profit corporation, is active in job training for the underemployed and focuses on connecting the unemployed with employment opportunities. CNY Works will be discussed in further details in the Opportunities for Underemployed, Minorities and Women section. Property & Aesthetic Value There are a number of factors that influence property values. The implementation of GI for stormwater management has the ability to enhance aesthetics and improve functionality. This is generally ultimately reflected directly in property values. An extensive number of studies also indicate that the characteristics of a property and of its surrounding community, including an 42 43

Khris Dodson, interview with authors, June 4, 2012. Onondaga Earth Corps. Retrieved on May 29, 2012 from http://www.onondagaearthcorps.org/

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What’s the economic value of tree planting? The 2010 Green Infrastructure values guide from the Center for Neighborhood Technology provides more examples of property values: “Several empirical studies have shown that property values increase when an urban neighborhood has trees and other greenery. For example, one study reported an increase in property value of 2-10 percent for properties with new street tree plantings in front (Wachter 2004; Wachter and Wong 2008). Another study done in Portland, Oregon, found that street trees add $8,870 to sale prices of residential properties and reduce time on market by 1.7 days (Donovan and Butry 2009)” (48).

increase in trees and vegetation, as well as the socio-cultural values of a community contribute to increased aesthetics and property values. For example, a 2004 study conducted by the United States Department of Defense highlighted that LID is able to improve the landscape and ultimately the values of properties (both those directly involved and those adjacent) as it provides architectural interest to properties that may be otherwise open or abandoned spaces.44 Depending on the objective and method of analysis, property

values will also account for other impact categories such as water and air quality. Energy Use The extra shade and insulation obtained from green roofs and trees incorporated into bioswales reduce the heating and cooling needs of a building with LID infrastructure as compared to conventional roof construction. The decrease in a building’s heating and cooling needs translates into reduced energy use and costs. Plumb and Seggos estimate that with a significant amount of green roofs, the ambient temperatures in New York City can be reduced by approximately 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.45 Furthermore, as LID technology reduces the amount of stormwater runoff that enters treatment systems, the amount of energy used at water treatment facilities is reduced.

44

Ed MacMullan and Sarah Reich, The Economics of Low-Impact Development: A Literature Review, ECONorthwest, November 2007. 45 Ed MacMullan and Sarah Reich, The Economics of Low-Impact Development: A Literature Review, ECONorthwest, November 2007.

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Case Study: The OnCenter Green Roof The recently-constructed OnCenter green roof covers nearly 60% of the roof with 11 different species of sedum, a low-growing succulent ideal for green roofs in this region of the world. The green roof has several indirect benefits including improved air quality, reduced energy use, increased habitat, and reduced urban heat island effect. Additionally the green roof will capture over a million gallons of rainwater and is expected to last 30-50 years, much longer than the 20 years a conventional roof is expected to last (Mosure).

A definitive model has not been created to calculate all of the indirect benefits of green roofs. Yet, some benefits including air quality and reduced energy use can be quantified through models and suggestions in literature. The Green Roof Energy Calculator and suggestions from a report from Portland, Oregon were used to calculate these. Costs of Disaster and other Damages Estimating the costs and risks of disaster and other damages varies greatly depending on flood plains and other factors, making them very difficult to gauge.46 Further, there is a large debate in Onondaga County at present about the actual risk of flooding within the county,47 which makes estimating the costs and risks under each plan difficult to project. In general, the costs of flooding and disasters are often incorporated into property and insurance values. The Green Infrastructures Value Guide notes that “those considering implementing a green infrastructure program who are able to model resulting changes in floodplain maps…can apply the results of these studies to get an estimate of the range of value provided by GI’s flood risk reduction impact.” As an example, an April 2011 storm in the Syracuse area, which brought approximately 4.5’’ of rain in a 5-day period, caused an estimate $8M in damage.48 This is roughly equivalent to a 2year storm (a storm with a 50% probability of occurring in any given year).49 A meteorological

46

Center for Neighboring Technology, The Value of Green Infrastructure, 2010, 24. Tim Knauss. FEMA Flood Map Change Could Cost Owners of 1,09 Syracuse Properties, Post-Standard [Syracuse, NY], April 3, 2012. 48 John Mariani, State, Federal Officials Tour Syracuse-Area Storm Damage; Cost Put at $8 Million, Post-Standard [Syracuse, NY], April 3, 2012, May 13, 2011. 49 Phillip J. Zarriello, “A Precipitation-Runoff Model for part of the Ninemile Creek Watershed near Camillus, Onondaga County, New York,” U.S. Geological Survey, Ithaca, NY, 1999, 43. 47

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model would be able to estimate the effect of the capture from GI under STR. Of course, there are a number of factors which go into the potential damage from this amount of rainfall, such as the duration of the event50 and seasonal variances for this to be transferrable across all events. Environmental The Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect Most cities are the sources of heat and pollution. In particular urban areas, experience an Urban Heat Island effect, which is the result of the production and accumulation of heat in the urban structures. Heat islands usually develop in areas that contain a low percentage of vegetated and moisture trapping surfaces, and in areas that have a high volume of non-reflective impervious surfaces, for example, asphalt and concrete. GI, including green roofs and trees incorporated into bioswales, as well as lighter colored surfaces can aid in the mitigation of the UHI effect by reducing the amount of heat absorbing material, creating shade and emitting water vapor. Therefore, less heat is absorbed and the air is also cooled. Philadelphia has conducted several studies over the past few decades to understand this issue, especially as it relates to mortality and morbidity. In their report, Stratus Consulting ran a meteorological model to determine the difference in average daily temperature, max temperature, and other variables between the base case and the “policy” case, which had a percentage increase in vegetated areas. It is also important to note that while green alternatives are expected to reduce temperatures by increasing shading and decreasing solar-absorbing materials, they would also increase humidity and collectively, the dew point temperature. In Philadelphia, Sailor (2003) notes that a 10% increase in urban vegetation was shown to result in a 0.39 degree Fahrenheit drop in the average temperature. Compared to a Columbia study in New York City, it would seem that the marginal effect of increased coverage is greater for more dense cities; thus, a 10% increase in vegetation would likely result in a less than 0.4 degree temperature change. It is important to note that the GI takes time to develop (i.e., a tree getting to maximum size and coverage). The reduction in the expected number of heat-related fatalities can be multiplied by the EPA's recommended value of a statistical life. It should be noted that there are a number of 50

The USGS precipitation model given above notes that “peak discharges from the 1- and 2-year storms were about twice as large for wet antecedent conditions than those under dry antecedent conditions” (page 44).

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uncertainties in this, ranging from the uncertainty of climate change, changes in population and demographics. Heat-related morbidity was not included in their analysis, but could be as well in a similar manner, though costing out morbidity would be more difficult due to the variety of costs. Air Quality and Climate Change Air quality, is a general measure of the condition of the air relative to the pollutant concentrations standards of the ambient air. The six criteria pollutants identified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are carbon monoxide (CO), lead (Pb), particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). These pollutants have far reaching negative impacts and can affect human health and the natural environment. Trees and vegetation incorporated into bioswales and green roofs are able to improve the air quality by capturing and sequestering five out of the six common air pollutants namely, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. In the table at right, air quality was based on

Table 13: The quantifiable benefits of the OnCenter’s new green roof

Quantifiable Benefits of the OnCenter Green Roof Water capture (gal) 1,033,000 Longevity 30-50 years Improved Air Quality (City of Portland) Avoided carbon emission (tons CO2) 8.3 Avoided carbon emission $47.44 Reduction of dust and particulate matter (lbs) 2640 Avoided air quality costs $4,989.60 Energy savings (Green Roof Energy Calculator) Electrical savings (kWh) 12512.4 Gas savings (Therms) 159.4 Total energy savings $2,273.27

the size of the roof (66,000sf) and models from the "Cost Benefit Evaluation of Ecoroofs" report. Energy savings were calculated with the Green Roof Calculator where it was assumed that the leaf area index was 3.32.51

51

Greg Mosure, interview by authors, June 4, 2012.

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On a global scale, increased attention is being paid to climate change as a direct consequence of the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is characterized by an increase in atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other trace gases. As such, important to note that trees and green roofs aid in the mitigation of the impacts of climate change as this green infrastructure captures atmospheric CO2, hence, reducing increased levels of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The table below gives the estimated value of trees based on their size. The values were adapted from The Value of Green Infrastructure, 2010. Table 14: The total economic impact of trees Economic Benefits of Save the Rain’s Street Tree Plantings Small (22x21) Medium (40x27) Trees planted - count (2011) 129 210 Per Tree Annual Benefits Average Annual Benefits Net Present Value (thru 2018)

$ 30 $ 3,888 $24,951

$ 35 $ 4,486

$ 80 $ 16,798

$28,790

$107,795

$ 92 $ 19,232

$

$ 145 $ 26,373

$123,418

Low

Total Benefits of 8,500 trees until 2018

Large (47x37) 182

$169,244

$ 170 $ 31,015 $199,031

High

6,230,382

$

7,246,422

Water Quality The urbanization within the county has caused an increase in water demands in order to support expanding cities and towns. Consequently, when high intensity storms occur, there is an increase in the magnitude of human related and naturally occurring contaminants being introduced into the wastewater treatment systems. Undoubtedly, improved water quality is one of the primary objectives of incorporating LID into CSO systems as traditional CSO methods result in a number of pollutants entering the sewer systems. GI systems are able to reduce the pollutants in water by biologically degrading the pollutants, or, by naturally capturing the pollutants that would ordinarily flow into stormwater systems and other waterways. The impacts of water quality are especially acute for Onondaga Lake. The fourth stipulation in the ACJ notes that “Stormwater captured through certain types of green infrastructure may be

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subject to a higher level of pollutant removal as compared to treatment by an RTF,”52 which is a key difference between STR and the conventional plan. The RTFs provide partial primary treatment of water, and so the more stormwater that is kept out of the system and left to natural processes, the less harmful impact this causes on the environment. In addition to keeping stormwater out of the sewer system, the fourth stipulation directs an increased amount of stormwater to Metro, where it receive tertiary treatment, the highest form of treatment. Johnston and Thomassin (2010) compile a range of CV studies which put the household willingness to pay (WTP) for water and aquatic habitat improvements from $15.08-126.98 (in 2002 dollars). The Philadelphia study by Stratus Consulting determined an annual WTP per household range of $9.70-$15.54 for a 50% LID option, higher than a 30' tunnel option. Wetlands Created or Restored The global indirect economic benefits of wetland ecosystem services are $14.9 trillion (1994 dollars).53 A constructed treatment wetland utilizes these natural ecosystem services to perform functions of conventional gray infrastructure. In addition to improving water quality, treatment wetlands provide direct and indirect benefits including the creation of natural habitat, recreation, education opportunities, air quality improvements, energy savings, and flood protection. STR is constructing a 1.9-acre experimental wetland to collect the 13.6 MGY of discharge from CSO 018, which would have been processed via the proposed Harbor Brook RTF under the conventional plan. Alternatively, this experimental wetland with three types of wetlands (floating wetland island, vertical downflow wetland, and surface flow wetland) fosters research and will determine the effectiveness of constructed wetland types in this region and climate.54 Improved Habitat

52

United States District Court, Fourth Stipulation Order Amending the Amended Consent Judgment, November 16, 2009, Section 18. 53 Costanza et al., “The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital,” [Nature, 2007], 387, 253-260 54 Joint Application for Permit, Harbor Brook CSO 018, Constructed Wetlands Pilot, Treatment System. pg 5. May 2011. Retrieved from SavetheRain.org June 2012.

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With increased vegetation from planting trees and developing green roofs, green infrastructure is able to improve habitats for plants and animals. In turn, this will develop and strengthen the natural and urban environment. A contingent valuation study would be best for valuing this in quantitative terms, but unfortunately, few have been done on this indicator.55 Estimated Benefits of the Harbor Brook Wetland Pilot Project It is too early to fully quantify the indirect benefits of the Harbor Brook Constructed Wetland, but an approximation can be guided by values from literature. Though these values are highly variable depending on the type, size, and regional climate, this still gives us an approximation of the benefits. Some services from literature that are applicable to this treatment wetland are: wastewater treatment, hydrologic regulation, greenhouse gas reduction, wildlife refuge, recreation, and culture (Costanza et al., 2007, 387, 253-260). Table 15: The Total Estimated Economic Benefit of Harbor Brook Wetland

Social Opportunities for Underemployed, Minorities and Women By most measures there would likely be a net social gain, largely in the form of avoided social costs, when jobs are provided to local citizens who are unemployed or under-employed because of lack of education, training and other social circumstances. The benefits of providing “green jobs� include the avoided costs of social services that the county would provide on behalf of the same unskilled people if they remained unemployed and possibly trapped in poverty. A more detailed study would be needed to gauge how many people would be included in this and to differentiate from transfers.

55

Center for Neighboring Technology, The Value of Green Infrastructure, 2010, 51.

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Green jobs offer a particular benefit to the underemployed and unskilled labor populations. As mentioned in the job training section, some organizations have offered training sections directed to this population. One example is the Porous Pavement Conference, organized by EFC, which reduced entrance fees for encouraging enrollment by individuals seeking new skills, information, and networking opportunities to secure jobs in the future.56 Another example is CNY Works, a non-profit corporation, which secured a $3.7M “Pathway out of Poverty” grant from the Department of Labor for training low income Sampling Labor for a Single Project The Harbor Brook Interceptor Sewer Replacement reported 34,674 total hours on the project in 2011. Of this, 6.13% were done by women, while 12.48% were done by minorities, for a total of 18.63% of hours worked by women and minorities. This particular project fell short of the 7% goal for women, but exceeded the 10% for minorities and the overall goal of 17%. Table 16: Job hours for select project at Harbor Brook Interceptor Sewer Replacement

and underemployed populations in green jobs.57 This grant was expected to train at least 750 local low-income workers in GI over the course of two years beginning in 2010. The county has established Project Labor Agreements (PLA) when filling contracts for STR. The PLA is designed to promote cost savings and job hiring from within the community. One dimension of a PLA is to create jobs for women and minorities for the purpose of preventing discrimination in hiring practices. All current PLAs have a goal of 7% for women and 10% for minorities as established.

Recreational Opportunities GI that incorporates increased vegetation and trees within a community has been associated with increased recreational activities. STR’s green infrastructure investment in local parks includes landscape enhancement, tree planting and porous pavement. While these investments are originally intended to aid with stormwater management, they are also designed to provide the community with improved and more attractive recreational opportunities. In turn, these GI investments are expected to yield an increase in the recreational activities including sports, 56

Khris Dodson, interview with authors, June 4, 2012. Mark Weiner, “CNY Works wins $3.7 M grant to train low-income Syracuse residence in ‘green’ jobs,” Post Standard. 13 January 2010, retrieved from: http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2010/01/cny_works_wins_37m_grant_to_tr.html 57

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walking, and picnics. Although some of these are transfers from existing opportunities, for example, a person choosing to use the new Onondaga Creekwalk instead of going to the Erie Canal towpath, the addition of such infrastructure also improves the opportunities for citizens, such as for a person who works downtown who may now choose to use the Onondaga Creekwalk on a lunch break because there is now an opportunity nearby, instead of remaining inside. In addition, STR would likely have overall recreation benefits for Onondaga Lake over the conventional plan since the quality of water would be improved under STR given that the quality of water would improve on the whole. A contingent valuation study would probably be useful for quantifying this, though it should be done so as to avoid double counting values already incorporated in property values. Public Education Opportunities The EPA has included public education as one of the six best management practices for stormwater. Naturally, in any attempt to address stormwater management via GI, public education is an integral step. The reason for this is that individual, household and public activities influence pollution on land surfaces, which eventually contaminate stormwater. Public education then creates an economic impact that leads to reduced treatment costs. STR conducts a number of comprehensive workshops, training opportunities, project demonstrations and marketing campaigns to familiarize community members with the programs implemented by STR so they may assist with the reduction of stormwater runoff and the improvement and management of the natural environment. Though it is difficult to quantify the indirect impacts of these educational opportunities, we have considered the type of educational opportunities provided. The EFC conducts several educational programs for STR in residential neighborhoods and in city classrooms. EFC educates residential communities through neighborhood meetings, rain barrel workshops, and promoting street tree plantings on landowners’ property. The EFC enters area classrooms through partnerships with SUNY-ESF and Baltimore Woods, a non-profit organization. Through these partnerships STR is brought into K-12 classrooms with the help of SUNY-ESF, and into half of the 3rd grade

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classrooms with Baltimore Woods.58 Each participating 3rd grade classroom is visited three times in a year to educate children about the water cycle, GI, and current environmental issues in Syracuse and Onondaga Lake. Collectively, educational opportunities provided through STR expand beyond these examples to festivals and other areas of community outreach where education is possible. Such activities would likely not have occurred, at least not nearly to the degree, under the conventional plan. Public Relations and Reputation As one of the pioneers of the use of GI in stormwater management, STR will bolster Onondaga County’s commitment to sustainable development, and also serves as a public relations tool for the county. Although the STR is an on-going program at the moment, the fruits of this labor have already been recognized. In 2011, the US EPA chose Syracuse, NY as one of the 10 communities nationwide to be recognized as a Green Infrastructure Partner. Green Infrastructure Partner cities are chosen based on the city’s level of success in the implementation of GI for stormwater management, and for the city’s progress toward creating more sustainable and livable communities. Furthermore, in 2011, Syracuse, NY was highlighted in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Rooftops to Rivers II report. In this report the NRDC identifies six key actions that cities should take in order to maximize green infrastructure investment and, to become Emerald Cities; Syracuse achieved 5 out of the 6 emerald city criteria. Functionality While functionality is incorporated into a number of other values, especially property values, many STR projects offer improvements in functionality over the conventional plan. These include: 

The improved Skiddy Park basketball court, which with porous pavement can now be used more often since there are fewer puddles than with a conventional court

The improved availability of water from rain barrels, which, though minor, should be noted. As a movable asset, this might not be included in home values

58

Khris Dodson, interview with authors, June 4, 2012.

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The ice rink at the War Memorial, which now uses water collected and treated via a cistern for making ice, freezes harder and is better for skating.59 This value might be reflected in an improved property value of the rink; however, as a public good this might not be as relevant as it would be for a private good. However, as with other indicators, the cost associated with these projects must be taken into account as well. In the case of the ice rink, the per gallon of capture was $3.07, much higher than the county’s target for new projects

Porous pavement where freezing is diminished due to a reduction in the collection of water now have added value for usage in walking and motorized transport

It would be very difficult to conduct an accurate hedonic or CV study of functionality values which avoided double counting of property and recreational values, however, this deserves mentioning.

59

Madison Quinn, interview by authors, May 24, 2012.

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7. RECOMMENDATIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR FUTURE RESEARCH In the process of this analysis, we came repeatedly came across several areas where we feel there is an opportunity for STR to maximize the project’s economic impact. In addition, there are a number of opportunities for future research which would help the county improve the effectiveness of STR. 

Develop a strategy for implementing GI projects. In order to be as economically efficient as possible, the county should focus on developing and maximizing those STR projects which have the best economic value in terms of cost per gallon saved. Treatment wetlands are by far the most cost-effective method: if successful, the planned Harbor Brook wetland has a cost of $.02 per gallon of water diverted from the system. Green streets and bioretention also offer the highest value in terms of cost-per-gallon-diverted for the county over other GI technologies. This would be an excellent MPA Workshop Capstone project for next year.

Develop a comprehensive database of STR costs and benefits in order to better quantify results of the program. This should include a section for the county’s own costs as well as income from grants, loans, and private partnerships. It should also delineate costs for labor, construction materials, maintenance, and other variable costs. It should be broken down by type of infrastructure (green or gray) and project (including, where possible, separating costs for projects with multiple technologies) in order to analyze the benefits of each project with their capacities, retention, and lifespan.

Institute a standardized system for evaluating results of the program. The county has done an excellent job of implementing these projects, but a more comprehensive system for evaluation of efficiency, especially given the fact that STR is a new program and there is relatively little research on new GI technologies, would be very important for strategic planning. STR personnel have indicated that they are already working towards evaluating the actual capture of a number of GI projects, and this is an excellent step. A team from Syracuse University’s school of management or school of public administration could be used as a way to externalize costs of this activity.

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Increase inclusion of women and minorities in the workforce. The county should reconsider its goals for women and minority employees when considering PLAs. At present, these agreements’ targets for hours worked of a project are 7% for women and 10% for minorities, with a total of 17% of hours. According the 2010 US Census, Syracuse has a minority population of 44%. Though construction-related jobs are traditionally filled by men, it is reasonable to state that a more representative minority goal should be closer to 22%. With the current level of 10% reserved for minorities, this could be problem with the county’s Human Rights Commission and should be reevaluated. The 7% for women should also be reevaluated. A second issue with the hiring process for these projects is that, when a quota needs to be filled, it is allowable for the contractor to fill it with women and minorities from outside the community. This particular clause runs counter to the community hiring efforts of the agreement and detracts from the local economic impact.

Expand use of Onondaga Earth Corps. The OEC has frequently been highlighted as a powerful asset to the community that was strengthened by STR. This program gives youth from underemployed neighborhoods an opportunity to gain marketable skills, leading them into green infrastructure jobs. As a result, OEC increases STR’s social benefits throughout several neighborhoods by increasing public awareness and educational opportunities. The EFC, who provides fiscal support to the OEC, indicated that the OEC is a program they expect to expand in the future, and this is strongly encouraged.60

Integrate GI technology that has been proven to be cost-effective and economically viable into county building codes. The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) gives Syracuse 5 out of 6 stars in its Emerald City Criteria. The one thing preventing Syracuse from being a 6 star city is the lack of “retention standards.” Onondaga County should integrate such retention standards into the legal code. Retention standards are identified by the NRDC: “Cities should identify appropriate retention standards for new development and redevelopment to minimize the volume of runoff discharged from developed sites.

60

Khris Dodson, interview with authors, June 4, 2012.

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State and local stormwater regulations should be revised to require retention of a sufficient amount of stormwater through infiltration, evapotranspiration, and rainwater harvesting to ensure water quality protection.� The purpose of retention standards could be seen as a long term commitment to the use of GI. Because there is currently no retention standard for new development or redevelopment, the county’s commitment to GI has room for codifying these standards into law. This would also serve as a signal towards a transition from the use of GI as just a passing trend to an institutional change in society that will provide real benefits to the community.

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8. REFERENCES Atlantic States Legal Foundation. Amended Consent Judgment Summary. N.D.G. Capozza, Nicholas. Wastewater Collection Systems Engineer/Division Manager, Onondaga County Department of Water & Environmental Protection. Interview by authors. May 31, 2012. Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board and Onondaga Lake Partnership. State of Onondaga Lake Report 2010 and Onondaga Lake Watershed Progress Assessment and Actions Strategies, http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8668.html (accessed May 20, 2012). Cook, Jeannette. Within a Four Mile Square: A History of the Onondaga Nation. Xlibris, 2002. Costanza et al. The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature, 2007. 387, 253-260 Dodson, Khris. Save the Rain Program Overview. Presentation. Syracuse Center of Excellence. June 15, 2011. Ecotrust Working Paper Series No. 5 The Value of Lake Adjacency: A Hedonic Pricing Analysis on the Klamath River, California by Sarah A. Kruse and Josh Ahmann Published: February 2009 Green Roof Design Builder. Retrieved from http://www.designbuilder.co.uk/helpv3/Content/GreenRoof.htm. June 4, 2012. Hill, C. M. and Carter, G. 2009. Determining an economic value for improved water quality in the Darling River. National Cyanobacterial Workshop. Kirst, Sean. The Onondaga Creekwalk: Blossoming with the Spring. Post Standard [Syracuse, NY], March 22, 2012. Knauss, Tim. Activists’ Persistence on Sewage Pushed Onondaga County to ‘Go Green’. PostStandard [Syracuse, NY]. January 18, 2010.

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MacMullan, Ed and Sarah Reich. The Economics of Low-Impact Development: A Literature Review. ECONorthwest (November 2007). Moriarty, Rick. Save the Rain Program in Syracuse Will Also Reach Suburbs. Post-Standard [Syracuse, NY], May 7, 2012. Mosure, Greg. Project Engineer, CH2M Hill. Interview by authors. June 4, 2012. National Resource Defense Council. Rooftops to Rivers II: Syracuse, NY. 2010. Onondaga Citizens League. What does it mean to be green? October 2011. P 11. Onondaga County. Joint Application for Permit: Harbor Brook CSO 018 Constructed Wetlands Pilot Treatment System. July 2011. Onondaga County. Grannis, Mahoney Announce Historic Onondaga Lake Agreement. Press Release. November 16, 2009. Onondaga County Department of Water and Environmental Protection. Onondaga Lake ACJ Compliance Program Monthly Report, April 2012. Onondaga County, New York, Save the Rain Program, 2010-2018 Green Infrastructure Plan. CH2M Hill. Updated January 2012. Onondaga County Save the Rain Program. Gray Project Fact Sheets. Retrieved from http://savetherain.us/gray-projects/ Onondaga County Save the Rain Program. Green Project Fact Sheets. Retrieved from http://savetherain.us/green-projects/ City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services. Cost-benefit evaluation of ecoroofs. April 2008. 11-12. Quinn, Madison. Program Coordinator, Office of the County Executive. Interviews conducted by authors. May 24, 2012. United States District Court. Fourth Stipulation Order Amending the Amended Consent Judgment (November 16, 2009). An Economic Impact Analysis of Onondaga County’s Save the Rain Program

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Viscusi, W.K. and J. Huber. J. Bell. “The economic value of water quality”. Environment Resource Economics (2007). Weiner, M. CNY Works wins $3.7 M grant to train low-income Syracuse residence in ‘green’ jobs. Post Standard. 13 January 2010. Retrieve from http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2010/01/cny_works_wins_37m_grant_to_tr.ht ml Wilcoxen, Peter. Director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Administration, Maxwell School, Syracuse University. Interview by authors. May 30, 2012. Zarriello, Phillip J. A Precipitation-Runoff Model for part of the Ninemile Creek Watershed near Camillus, Onondaga County, New York. U.S. Geological Survey [Ithaca, NY: 1999].

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APPENDIX A:

RECOMMENDED METHODS

One of the major obstacles involved in conducting a cost – benefit analysis to determine the economic impacts of the Save the Rain Program is most of the benefits associated with the program do not have a market value. As such, there is no economic indicator (price) for the benefits associated with the green infrastructure development projects undertaken by STR. To overcome this challenge, we recommend two indirect economic approaches: 1. The stated preference method – contingent valuation 2. The revealed preference method – hedonic pricing model

Stated Preference - Contingent Valuation This is a survey-based method used to infer individuals’ valuation of an environmental commodity and/or benefit, based on the individuals’ willingness to pay (WTP) for a given commodity of benefit, or, how much individuals’ are willingness to accept (WTA) compensation for the destruction or harm of a given environmental commodity and/or benefits associated with the commodity. Stated preference approaches are based on constructed markets and it is assumed that the survey respondents will behave as if they were in the real market. Specific to benefits obtained by Save the Rain green infrastructure development, the contingent valuation model can be employed to determine the value the individuals place on the benefits associated with improved air quality and increased recreational opportunities.

Figure 19: Contingent valuation model

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Recreational Opportunities –In order to determine the recreational value created by increased recreational opportunities established in Onondaga County via the STR, a contingent valuation method can be employed. With this method, the value added by recreational opportunities can be determined by the increase in recreational trips, and by the amount that individuals would be willing to pay in order to make use of the recreational facilities and spaces, or willing to accept compensation for the loss of the recreational facilities and spaces. Water Quality – In order to determine the value of increased water quality in Onondaga County as a result of the efforts of STR, the contingent valuation method can be employed. The value added to an individual’s quality of life can be measured by how much individuals of Onondaga County would be willing to pay for good or improved water quality, and whether these individuals would be willing to accept compensation for low or degrading water quality.

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Water Quality Contingent Valuation: Case Studies

Contingent valuation is ideal for water quality because cultural values heavily influence an individual’s willingness to pay for it. In Onondaga County in 2010 surveys administered by the Onondaga Citizens League evaluated citizens’ value of natural resources in the county. The survey asked participants to indicate the importance of protecting environmental resources on a 1 (not important) to 5 (very important) scale.1 The average response of all questions for all participants was 4.06, signaling a potentially high WTP for environmental health within the county. Contingent valuation has been used around the world with several methods to value water quality. Two examples of these from literature are described below.

Case Study: Australia In Australia a contingent valuation model for the WTP for improving the water quality of the Darling River was approached in two ways, discrete choice and open ended. 2 The discrete choice method asked participants if they would be WTP $50, $100, or $150 to improve the water quality and found a willingness to pay of $118. The other method, an opened ended method, asked participants from the same region how much they would be willing to pay without suggesting values, and found a willingness to pay of $20. These two methods highlight the importance of survey design and should be considered in Onondaga County’s survey design.

Case Study: United States Another method for determining willingness to pay is deriving it from questions that imply a willingness to pay, instead of direct questioning. A web-based study in the United States surveyed 4,527 participants on their willingness to pay for a one percent increase in the proportion of waterbodies in their region considered ‘good.’3 A water body was considered “good” if it is suitable for swimming and fishing. The survey asked percipients a series of questions about their preference on living in two different regions, one with a higher percent of ‘good’ waterbodies and a higher cost of living, or the other with a lower percent of ‘good’ water bodies and a lower cost of living. After the first response the survey continue questioning, but with an altered percent of ‘good’ lakes or cost of living until the participant switched which region they preferred to live. This captured the range a participant they would be willing to pay for a one percent increase of good waterbodies. Results indicated participants were willing to pay an average of $32 for each percent increase, but with a median of $13. Footnotes: 1- Onondaga Citizens League. “What does it mean to be green?” October 2011. P 11. 2- Hill, C. M. and Carter, G. 2009. Determining an economic value for improved water quality in the Darling River. National Cyanobacterial Workshop. 3- W. K. Viscusi. J. Huber. J. Bell. “The economic value of water quality”. Environment Resource An Economic Impact Analysis of Onondaga County’s Save the Rain Program 66 of 87 Economics (2007).


Revealed Preference Method – Hedonic Pricing Model The hedonic pricing model is a revealed preference method that estimates the ways that nonmarket goods or services influences the actual market for some other good. This method has been extensively researched in current literature and proves to be a very useful tool for the evaluation of the economic value of GI. The hedonic pricing method employs statistical analysis of market transactions to determine an individual’s WTP. This model uses market prices to estimate the marginal value associated with a particular characteristic (non-market good or service) then estimates the value of the particular characteristic. The hedonic pricing method has been used to determine the value of a number of environmental good and services including air quality, green spaces and natural disasters, among other things. Specific to benefits obtained by STR GI development, the hedonic pricing model can be employed to determine the impact of STR on property values and aesthetic values.

Figure 20: Hedonic pricing model

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Property and Aesthetic Values - A few of the major GI features of STR include trees planted, porous pavement, biorentention areas and green roofs. While the effect of these features on the local temperature, the quantity of runoff and energy consumption can be easily determined and monitored; establishing the value that residents actually place on these features proves to be more difficult. As such, the hedonic pricing method can be used to determine a property owner’s or a tenant’s willingness to pay for green infrastructure features by determining the extent to which the GI features, the characteristics of the property and the characteristics of neighborhood impact the value of a home, or commercial building. Then, the implicit value that residents place the GI features can be isolated, estimated, and used to determine the overall impact of green infrastructure on property values.

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Property Values Hedonic Pricing Case Study The hedonic valuation technique can be used to determine the indirect impact of STR investments on property values in Onondaga County. The first step in this type of analysis is to estimate a hedonic price equation based on the characteristics of the environment, the property and the neighborhood. Therefore in this type of evaluation it is important to control for the various the characteristics included so that the effect of the proximity to STR investments on property values can be isolated. An example of the hedonic technique is described below. Case Study: California In California the hedonic pricing method was used to determine the impact of various levels of lake proximity (lake frontage, lake distance and lake view) on the value of residential properties located near two lakes on the Lower Klamath River in California. The primary data set for the analysis came from property transfer records for property sales in between January 1998 and October 2006. The final sample included both developed and undeveloped properties. With regard to spatial data, properties located on the lake and across the street from the lake were identified via visual inspections while properties with a lake view were determined via viewshed analysis. The dependent variable in this study was the natural log of the sale price per acre, and the independent variables, which were bases on other economic theories and data from other hedonic pricing models included total acreage of the property, total acreage squared, if the property had a residential structure, if the property is on Copco or Iron Gate lake, if the property is on Klamath River, if the property is across the street from either lake, the sale year of the property and if the property has a view of either lake. The model estimated was: LnSale = 0 +1Acres+2AcresSq+ 3Home+ 4SaleYr+ 5OnRiv+ 6OnLake+ 7ProxLake+ 8ViewLake

The results of this analysis determined that at all levels of lake proximity analyzed, there is a positive correlation with property value. It is estimated that a property on the lake will sell for 108% more than a property that is not on the lake. Furthermore, it is estimated that lake proximity properties will sell for 68% more per acre while lake view properties will sell for 28% more per acre than a property without the lake proximity or lake view respectively. This revealed preference method proved that lake adjacency has a positive and significant impact on property values.

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APPENDIX B:

NEWS ARTICLES

State, federal officials tour Syracuse-area storm damage; cost put at $8 million Published: Friday, May 13, 2011, 5:27 PM Updated: Friday, May 13, 2011, 5:46 PM

By John Mariani / The Post-Standard Dick Blume / The Post Standard Fred Kolczynski, left, with the state Office of Emergency Management; Don Markle, with FEMA; Bob Ellis, with Onondaga County Parks; and Onondaga County Parks Commissioner Bill Lansley look at the flooded area under the bridge by the Syracuse University Boathouse at Onondaga Lake Park.

Officials across Onondaga County estimate that the violent weather the week of April 24 caused at least $8 million in damage. Friday, officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state Office of Emergency Management fanned out across the county to check whether those figures are right. Their findings will help determine whether New York qualifies for federal disaster aid and if so, whether Onondaga County and its residents qualify for a piece of that funding. Three teams comprising representatives of FEMA, OEM, the federal Small Business Administration and Onondaga County spent much of the day inspecting damaged parks, streets, houses and government buildings, reviewing cost estimates and interviewing local officials. As the workday ended, it appeared the $8 million estimate would hold up, said Fred Kolczynski, a public assistance liaison with OEM. Kolczynski, FEMA Project Specialist Donald Markle and Michael Huppmann, program assistant at the county Department of Emergency Management, formed one team. They spent about an hour at Onondaga Lake Park, reviewing repair and cleanup estimates totaling $75,000 with county Parks Commissioner William Lansley and acting Operations Director Bob Ellis at their office, then touring the park.

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The parks officials showed them how pounding waves had undermined a seawall at the park’s marina, carving out gravel from beneath and tossing it atop the walkway. They pointed out, too, where floodwaters left a line of driftwood and debris on the lawns and still crossed the East Shore Trail along the lake’s Seneca River outlet. They made a pitch for money to install more rip-rap boulders along the lakeshore to prevent shoreline erosion during the next flood, but Markle told them disaster money was not available to restore eroded areas. In Solvay, Anthony Alberti, representing the village, showed the investigators copies of photos depicting mud damage to the village swimming pools, flood damage to its youth baseball field, and popped up sidewalks and undermined road shoulders. A bowed-out retaining wall along Caroline Avenue was among the shots; so were suspected sinkholes on Case Street. The damage total, according to a list Alberti presented them, came to about $2.17 million. Markle pumped Alberti for more data, ranging from how many street-miles were affected to Solvay’s population and village budget. The team then inspected the pool, the ballfield and the Caroline Avenue retaining wall. The baseball diamond’s new $8,000 clay infield had been washed away by the 1.8 inches of rain that doused the area during the afternoon of April 26, Alberti had told them. The visit appeared to verify the claim. Runoff had carved a ravine that crossed in front of home plate from baseline to baseline and carried clay down a path past a nearby concession stand. As the process continues, state and federal officials will determine whether New York sustained $24.6 million in damage from the storm, sufficient for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ask President Obama for federal disaster aid. They also will determine whether Onondaga County suffered at least $1.5 million in damage, the threshold it must reach to be included among the counties in the disaster area. If the aid comes through, the federal government would provide 75 percent of the needed funding, Kolczynski said. The state traditionally provides another 12.5 percent, he said. © 2012 syracuse.com. All rights reserved.

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CNY Works wins $3.7M grant to train low-income Syracuse residents in 'green' jobs Published: Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 7:35 PM Updated: Thursday, January 14, 2010, 9:25 AM

By Mark Weiner / The Post-Standard

Syracuse, NY -- At least 750 low-income Syracuse residents will receive free “green job” training over the next two years thanks to a grant announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor. The department awarded a $3.7 million grant to CNY Works, a Syracuse-based nonprofit that helps provide skill training and job placement services for local workers. CNY Works was among only 38 groups nationwide to be awarded a total of $150 million green jobtraining grants. The “Pathways Out of Poverty” grants are part of President Barack Obama $787 billion economic stimulus program. The competitive grants are intended to help low-income residents find ways out of poverty through employment in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. “The point of this grant is to take people who are potentially not able to enter the workforce — they may be low-skilled or in poverty — and start them on a career path, particularly in the green sector,” said Lenore Sealy, executive director of CNY Works. “The overarching vision is to engage people in poor neighborhoods in the city of Syracuse and provide access” to the workforce. Sealy said the $3.7 million grant, which almost equals the nonprofit’s annual budget, will allow CNY Works to partner with other Central New York institutions to provide training. Key partners include Huntington Family Center, SUNY Morrisville, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Minority Contractors Association. CNY Works said its goal is to eventually place 293 of the newly trained workers in unsubsidized jobs in the private or public sector. In addition, the goal is for 366 workers to earn industry-recognized degrees or certificates through the training programs. U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei, whose office helped push for the grant, said CNY Works was successful because of its “track record of success and innovative work that will be a great investment in our community’s green work force.” The Department of Labor said it encouraged applicants to focus their efforts in communities where poverty rates were 15 percent of higher. Within those areas, the targeted groups include the unemployed, displaced workers, ex-offenders and high school dropouts. © 2012 syracuse.com. All rights reserved.

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The Onondaga Creekwalk: Blossoming with the spring Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012, 5:20 PM

Updated: Friday, March 23, 2012, 12:55 AM

By Sean Kirst / The Post-Standard

Mike Greenlar/The Post-Standard Walkers on Thursday enjoy a new section of the Onondaga Creekwalk, near Herald Place.

It works.

That’s the highest praise for any project in downtown Syracuse, and it certainly applies to the new Onondaga Creekwalk, a 2.6-mile greenway from Armory Square to Onondaga Lake. During Thursday’s lunch hour, dozens of walkers and joggers came and went from the trail through a Herald Place access point. As an aside, here’s a suggestion for that particular spot: If city landscapers were to cut down the scraggly brush just to the south, it would create an unobstructed view of a 19th century stone bridge underneath West Genesee Street, a bridge hidden from public viewing for too long. Such revelations, after all, provide the basis for Creekwalk, one of those rare projects — much like the Clinton Square ice rink — that take off simply because they make good sense. Steve Buechner, at 75, is akin to the proud father. Buechner, a landscape architect, was asked 47 years ago by then-city parks commissioner Jim Heath to draw up initial plans for a creekside trail that would link several city neighborhoods. In those years, the creek was walled off from Syracuse by a fence and tall weeds. In an era when civic planners were infatuated by automobiles — and too often embraced designs that choked the life from neighborhoods — Heath understood the importance of tying together urban communities for those on foot. The idea he nurtured would take almost a half-century to reach fruition, but one thing is made evident by every runner, biker or walker on the trail: Heath, who died in a plane crash as a young man, was decades ahead of his time. On a practical level, Creekwalk finally provides a sensible pedestrian connection between the city and Carousel Center, near the lake. “If I walk fast, I can use it to get to the mall and back during lunch,” said Katie Walter, a National Grid employee who strolled the Creekwalk Thursday with her boyfriend, Carmen Mufale.

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The trail was also used Thursday by a runner named Marty, whose training allowed for only a momentary pause. He said Creekwalk answers a fundamental need for downtown workers seeking exercise: No cars. “It opened in October, and since then we’ve gotten an overwhelming response, really encouraging,” said Andrew Maxwell, the city’s director of planning and sustainability. “The mild winter allowed people to be out there a little more than they would be otherwise, and now this warm spring is upon us, and the number of people who are using it is really impressive.” Maxwell said the next step is identifying a source for the estimated $10 million required to connect the Armory Square section of Creekwalk with Kirk Park. And the Onondaga Historical Association is developing a sequence of interpretative signs and markers to help visitors understand how the creek and nearby landmarks influenced the city. Dennis Connors, the OHA curator of history, is also trying to resolve one nagging design problem with Creekwalk, which entirely misses an extraordinary creekside feature — a 19th century Erie Canal bridge with elegant stone arches that is all but hidden beneath Erie Boulevard. Buechner said original plans called for running the trail beneath that bridge, which is surrounded by land owned by National Grid. But the idea was scuttled by complications from the need for major bridge repairs. Connors said that he and OHA executive director Gregg Tripoli met this week with National Grid officials to discuss the chance of someday creating an overlook to allow easy viewing of the bridge, located roughly a block from the main Creekwalk. “There’s a swath of green space nearby, and you’ve got an original Erie Canal culvert that no one can see, and our thought is that it would be nice to incorporate some kind of spot where people could look down,” Connors said. A spokeswoman for National Grid said the project is “a wonderful idea,” but talks remain at an early stage. As for the existing Creekwalk, Buechner said it will reach a scenic crescendo in the coming weeks. The modern version of the trail really began in the 1980s, when Buechner worked for developer Bob Congel during the restoration of Franklin Square. After Buechner explained Heath’s dream for a walkway along the creek, Congel told him to add a creekside trail to the plans. At the time, Buechner lined the streets of that area with flowering trees. He had an early vision of what runners, walkers and bikers from downtown will soon experience as Creekwalk’s spring blossoms hit their peak. “It will be about as close to heaven,” Buechner said, “as you can get.”

© 2012 syracuse.com. All rights reserved.

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APPENDIX C:

PRESENTATION

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Save The Rain - Economic Impact Analysis  

Economic Impact Analysis of Onondaga County's Save the Rain Program, conducted by Jeremy Begay, Thomas Dannan, Kiyana Edwards, and Stephanie...

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