Tag Archives: stormwater

Louisiana Flooding Not Related to Climate Change

“Is man-made global warming to blame for the heavy rainfall and flooding in Louisiana? Former Vice President Al Gore sure thinks so.” here

Urban Flood Forecasting under Rapid Urbanization, China

Chen Y, Zhou H, Zhang H, Du G, Zhou J. Urban flood risk warning under rapid urbanization. Environmental Research. 2015 Mar 10. pii: S0013-9351(15)00062-6. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.02.028.

In the past decades, China has observed rapid urbanization, the nation’s urban population reached 50% in 2000, and is still in steady increase. Rapid urbanization in China has an adverse impact on urban hydrological processes, particularly in increasing the urban flood risks and causing serious urban flooding losses. Urban flooding also increases health risks such as causing epidemic disease break out, polluting drinking water and damaging the living environment. In the highly urbanized area, non-engineering measurement is the main way for managing urban flood risk, such as flood risk warning. There is no mature method and pilot study for urban flood risk warning, the purpose of this study is to propose the urban flood risk warning method for the rapidly urbanized Chinese cities. This paper first presented an urban flood forecasting model, which produces urban flood inundation index for urban flood risk warning. The model has 5 modules. The drainage system and grid dividing module divides the whole city terrain into drainage systems according to its first-order river system, and delineates the drainage system into grids based on the spatial structure with irregular gridding technique; the precipitation assimilation module assimilates precipitation for every grids which is used as the model input, which could either be the radar based precipitation estimation or interpolated one from rain gauges; runoff production module classifies the surface into pervious and impervious surface, and employs different methods to calculate the runoff respectively; surface runoff routing module routes the surface runoff and determines the inundation index. The routing on surface grid is calculated according to the two dimensional shallow water unsteady flow algorithm, the routing on land channel and special channel is calculated according to the one dimensional unsteady flow algorithm. This paper then proposed the urban flood risk warning method that is called DPSIR model based multiple index fuzzy evaluation warning method, and referred to as DMFEW method. DMFEW first selects 5 evaluation indexes based on the DPSIR model for flood risk warning evaluation, including driving force index, pressure index, state index, impact index and response index. Based on the values of all evaluation indexes, one evaluation index for the whole system evaluation result is determined by using the fuzzy comprehensive evaluation method. The flood risk level is divided into 4 levels, having Level 1 the most serious. Every evaluation index is also categorized as 4 levels, and a linear fuzzy subjection function is proposed to do the fuzzy comprehensive evaluation. Dongguan City is used as the study case to validate the proposed method. The urban flood forecasting model is set up with the topographic data, the city map, the underground pipelines and land cover types, and two flood events are simulated with observed precipitation, one is interpolated from the rain gauges data, and another is estimated by digital weather radar. The simulated results are compared with the investigated water depth, and the results show the model has very good performances. The results are further used for the flood risk warning simulation, and are very reasonable.

Paper is here (fee).

USGS publishes fictional projections of climate hydrologic effects

The US Geological Survey (USGS), a primary driver of “climate change” dogma, is publishing basin studies based on downscaled General Circulation Models (GCMs). USGS’s Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) applies information from the downscaled GCM projections to local watersheds, where impacts of climate change on water availability will depend on local conditions. Prior posts on this blog and other blogs have discussed ad nauseum the scientific limitations of GCM downscaling and the research-nature of these efforts. Planners can believe these projections, but there is no scientific data supporting them.

So far, USGS has applied these models to fourteen basins, including (click on basin for the report):

The quote below from the press release is revealing….we knew there is “not just one response” without having to spend money on fictionalized hydrologic projections….. 

“The advantage of these studies is that they demonstrate that there is not just one hydrological response to climate change: the predictions account for essential local factors that will govern the timing, severity, and type of impact, whether it be water shortage, drought, or flood,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt.

The USGS claims to be able to project hydrological reponses that should be observable….without having demonstrated the ability of such models to do so on existing data with any degree of confidence.

As typical of USGS reports, they are professionally published and are impressive. But this does not change the limitations of the analyses described. Modeling efforts like this are useful for advancing research…..but not for responsible science-based water supply planning.

Click here for more…..

LeFevre et al 2011: Fate of Naphthalene in Laboratory-Scale Bioretention Cells: Implications for Sustainable Stormwater Management

G.H. LeFevre, P.J. Novak, and R.M. Hozalski. 2011. Fate of Naphthalene in Laboratory-Scale Bioretention Cells: Implications for Sustainable Stormwater Management. Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/es202266z; Publication Date (Web): December 9, 2011

Bioretention cells are increasingly popular in low-impact development as a means to sustainably mitigate the environmental problems associated with stormwater runoff. Yet, much remains to be known regarding the removal and ultimate fate of pollutants such as petroleum hydrocarbons in bioretention cells. In this work, laboratory-scale bioretention cells were constructed inside sealed glass columns. The columns were periodically spiked with 14C-naphthalene over a 5-month period and the fate of this representative hydrocarbon and the influence of vegetation on naphthalene fate was studied. Three column setups were used: one planted with a legume (Purple Prairie Clover, Dalea purpureum), one planted with grass (Blue-Joint Grass, Calamagrostis canadensis), and one unplanted (i.e., control). Overall naphthalene removal efficiency was 93% for the planted columns and 78% for the control column. Adsorption to soil was the dominant naphthalene removal mechanism (56–73% of added naphthalene), although mineralization (12–18%) and plant uptake (2–23%) were also important. Volatilization was negligible (<0.04%). Significant enrichment of naphthalene-degrading bacteria occurred due to contaminant exposure and plant growth as evidenced by increased biodegradation activity and increased naphthalene dioxygenase gene concentrations in the bioretention media. This research suggests that bioretention is a viable solution for sustainable petroleum hydrocarbon removal from stormwater, and that vegetation can enhance overall performance and stimulate biodegradation.

Lafarge North America Inc to pay $740,000 for CWA stormwater violations

News Releases from Headquarters

Lafarge North America Inc. Agrees to Pay $740,000 Penalty to Resolve Clean Water Act Violations in Five States/Ready-mix concrete producer agrees to invest an estimated $8 million to improve environmental compliance at 189 facilities in the U.S.

Release Date: 11/29/2011
Contact Information: Stacy Kika, Kika.stacy@epa.gov, 202-564-0906, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON — Lafarge North America Inc., one of the largest suppliers of construction materials in the United States and Canada, and four of its U.S. subsidiaries have agreed to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations. The violations include unpermitted discharges of stormwater at 21 stone, gravel, sand, asphalt and ready-mix concrete facilities in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, and New York. Stormwater flowing over concrete manufacturing facilities can carry debris, sediment and pollutants, including pesticides, petroleum products, chemicals and solvents, which can have a significant impact on water quality.

“EPA is committed to protecting America’s waters from polluted stormwater runoff,” said Cynthia Giles, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s settlement will improve stormwater management at facilities across the nation, preventing harmful pollutants from being swept into local waterways.”

“Owners and operators of industrial facilities must take the necessary measures to comply with stormwater regulations under the Clean Water Act, which protects America’s rivers, lakes, and sources of drinking water from harmful contamination,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The system-wide management controls and training that this settlement requires from Lafarge and its subsidiaries will result in better management practices and a robust compliance program at hundreds of facilities throughout the nation that will prevent harmful stormwater runoff.”

Lafarge will implement a nationwide evaluation and compliance program at 189 of its similar facilities in the United States to ensure they meet Clean Water Act requirements. Lafarge will also pay a penalty of $740,000 and implement two supplemental environmental projects, in which the company will complete conservation easements to protect approximately 166 acres in Maryland and Colorado. The value of the land has been appraised at approximately $2,95 million. Lafarge will also implement one state environmentally beneficial project valued at $10,000 to support environmental training for state inspectors.

The comprehensive evaluation will include a compliance review of each facility’s permit, an inventory of all discharges to U.S. waters, and identification of all best management practices in place. In addition, Lafarge must identify an environmental vice president, responsible for coordinating oversight of compliance with stormwater requirements, at least two environmental directors, to oversee stormwater compliance at each operation, and an onsite operations manager at each facility. The U.S. estimates that Lafarge will spend approximately $8 million over five years to develop and maintain this compliance program.

The company will also develop and implement an extensive management, training, inspections, and reporting system to increase oversight of its operations and compliance with stormwater requirements at all facilities that it owns or operates.

The complaint, filed in federal court with the settlement, alleges a pattern of violations since 2006 that were discovered after several federal inspections at the company’s facilities. The alleged violations included unpermitted discharges, violations of effluent limitations, inadequate management practices, inadequate or missing records and practices regarding stormwater compliance and monitoring, inadequate discharge monitoring and reporting, inadequate stormwater pollution prevention plans, and inadequate stormwater training.

The Clean Water Act requires that industrial facilities, such as ready-mix concrete plants, sand and gravel facilities and asphalt batching plants, have controls in place to prevent pollution from being discharged with stormwater into nearby waterways. Each site must have a stormwater pollution prevention plan that sets guidelines and best management practices that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants.

Since being notified of the violations by EPA, the company has made significant improvements to its stormwater management systems.

The settlement is the latest in a series of federal enforcement actions to address stormwater violations from industrial facilities and construction sites around the country. The states of Maryland and Colorado are co-plaintiffs and have joined the proposed settlement.

Lafarge is required to pay the penalty within 30 days of the court’s approval of the settlement.

More information on the settlement: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/cwa/lafargenorthamerica.html