Managing Sewer Overflows with Green Infrastructure •

Managing Sewer Overflows with Green Infrastructure


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There are approximately 800 cities and towns across the country that still rely on combined sewer systems. These systems increasingly put clean water at risk because of combined sewer overflows during heavy rain storms. EPA hydrologist Dr. Bill Shuster has been testing and evaluating environmentally friendly storm water management techniques called green infrastructure — including rain gardens, cisterns and rain barrels — to reduce overflows. His research is gaining momentum around the country because cities and towns save money while protecting human and environmental health.

Optimizing stormwater management requires the use of both existing gray infrastructure and green infrastructure. Scientists and engineers are studying green infrastructure to help support local, state, and national stormwater management objectives to reduce runoff through infiltration and retention.

EPA’s green and grey infrastructure research involves synthesizing existing models, methods, assessment data, and approaches (e.g., flow control) to aid communities in stormwater management planning, including evaluation of costs and benefits, operation, and green/grey infrastructure maintenance issues.

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