Green Solutions for Wet Weather Management

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Date

2012-06

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The Ohio State University

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Abstract

Managing storm runoff and sewer overflow remains one of the largest challenges of sustainable environmental design for cities. Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) can be mitigated by means of "green" infrastructure. A CSO results when a major rain event causes a storm surge within the cities network of combined sewers. A combined sewer houses the flow of both sanitary and storm water. These CSOs are harmful to the environment as they release waste water into natural ecosystems when the system is overflowing with storm water. "Green" infrastructure solutions for CSOs have been developed and implemented into various cities around the country, yet little has been done to quantify and objectively forecast their potential effects. Green infrastructure can be defined as any form of storm water capture and retention prior to its introduction into a sewer network. Examples of green infrastructure include but are not limited to: green roofs, permeable pavements, cisterns, rain gardens and vegetated swales. The implementation of green infrastructure relies heavily on the characteristics of the land and the built environment. Using the city of Columbus as a test case, we categorized a scheme of green infrastructure scenarios based on varying attributes of the city landscape. We segmented the city into discrete catchments and categorized them based of surface type, size, drainage and topographic slope. For each catchment type we compare simulations with and without different "green" solutions. We applied the USGS Technical Release 55 method (TR-55) to determine the peak unit discharge of runoff before and after the implementation of green infrastructure in each sub-catchment type. Our simulation results show that the implementation of green infrastructure will serve to limit peak discharge and total volume of runoff and thus prevent much storm water from overflowing the sewer network.

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Sustainability, Green Infrastructure, Combined Sewer Overflow

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