Re-Think the Streets: An Evaluation of Green Street Practices as a Method to Achieve Combined Sewer Separation

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Krieger, Jenna Elizbeth
Stone, Brian
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Older cities across the United States have been grappling with how to mitigate stormwater for decades. The ongoing trend of land development coupled with the heightened frequency and intensity of storm events has necessitated costly infrastructure improvements that are short-sighted and fail to address the underlying cause of increased runoff. Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) has recently emerged as a popular stormwater mitigation tool that mimics and restores the natural environment while providing the same functional benefits as conventional systems. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of GSI in roadside applications (i.e., “Green Streets”) to reduce combined sewer dependency and provide an alternative solution to sewer separation. Typically, roadways reach the end of their design life after 40 years, at which point, they are fully reconstructed. Reconstruction provides an opportunity to re-imagine the right-of-way (ROW) and shift away from conventional drainage design. The Green Street Toolkit presented in this research provides a planning and design framework that can be utilized prior to reconstruction to integrate green infrastructure into the ROW, which has the potential to eliminate stormwater runoff from the combined sewer system along the reconstructed segment. The Toolkit is applied under three design storm scenarios to evaluate the feasibility of a green street approach for varying storm intensities. Although green streets may not eliminate combined sewer dependency in every case, this work shows their potential in removing a substantial amount of stormwater runoff from the combined sewer system while providing secondary benefits not offered by conventional infrastructure.
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