Flooded Street of Des Plains City. Spring River Flood. Des Plains, IL, USA. Nature Disasters Photo Collection.

Stormwater Management for a Changing Climate

Signs of Climate Change

It’s hard not to notice the change in rainfall patterns. Not to mention the impact on stormwater management infrastructure. Current studies project that the increase in heavy precipitation events will continue. In fact, rainfall events that exceed common engineering design criteria, including 100‐year storms, have increased in frequency in most parts of the United States since 1950.

According to a July 2019 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. has its wettest 12 months on record – again. It’s actually the third consecutive year that we hit an all-time high.

Impact of Climate Change on Stormwater Management

As a result, much of the existing and planned infrastructure in the United States will continue to under perform. Clearly, there is a need for updating our approach to design and design standards. Until that happens, site designers and civil engineers need consider climate change in their design approach.

Stormwater Management Design for a Changing Environment

While there is a need for changing design standards, what can designers do now? One solution is green infrastructure.

Green infrastructure is an approach to water management that protects, restores, or mimics the natural water cycle. It reduces and treats stormwater at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits. Green infrastructure reduces flooding by mimicking natural hydrologic patterns and promoting infiltration and evapotranspiration.

Here are some examples of green infrastructure:

Case Study: 675 Swedesford Road

In Tredyffrin Township, a nearly built out, suburban municipality, Nave Newell worked closely with Equus Capital Partners, Ltd. on the development of 675 Swedesford Road. The project is a new 5-story, 145,000 sf mass timber office building. To combat the effects of climate change, Tredyffrin focuses on stormwater improvements that not only have a positive impact on the site, but also on the community. Nave Newell civil engineers took a site in an area of concern and designed a stormwater approach that also supported a larger regional plan.

Site Improvements and Community-wide Impact

On-site stormwater improvements included:

  • Bioretention/infiltration basins
  • Subsurface infiltration basins
  • Porous pavements
  • Soil amendments
  • Native planting credits

All together, these improvements substantially exceeded the Trout Creek Stormwater (TCS) Overlay reduction requirements for the 1, 2, 10, 25 & 50-year storms.

Overall, the stormwater design addressed the concerns of the community, had the support of the Township officials, and resulted in an innovative solution to an otherwise challenging problem. Most importantly, it reduced the amount of stormwater runoff, preventing downstream flooding.

Combat Climate Change with a More Resilient Site

For this project, Nave Newell’s team helped Equus Capital Partners and Tredyffrin Township quickly develop a difficult site, while also improving the downstream impact.

As increased rainfall events occur, resiliency is key for site design. Learn how Nave Newell’s team of stormwater experts can help you design a more resilient site and achieve your vision!