In partnership with New Jersey Future and the city of Hoboken, Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy completed an HIA examining the potential health effects of implementing green infrastructure-based stormwater management strategies to address chronic flooding and combined sewer system (CSS) backups and overflows in Hoboken. Over the past decade, the city has experienced increasingly severe and frequent weather events and flooding, and in 2014 it prepared a Green Infrastructure Strategic Plan, which recommended amending the city’s Master Plan to include stormwater management. Potential impacts of flooding on human health include infectious disease, respiratory illness, injury, and drowning. Further, in Hoboken, floods are often accompanied by CSS backups and overflows, which put city residents at risk for contact with untreated human and industrial waste, toxic materials, and debris. Exposure to these substances can cause serious illness and even death. The HIA identified low-income people, those with disabilities, and older residents as particularly susceptible to the negative effects of flooding. Most poor and low-income Hoboken residents live in low-lying areas that are more susceptible to frequent flooding and CSS backups. This includes a significant portion of Hoboken Housing Authority facilities and other federally subsidized housing units. The HIA found that best practices outlined in the city’s Green Infrastructure Strategic Plan have the potential to reduce stormwater flow enough to prevent serious flooding events.
This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.