Identifying Sweet Spots for Green Stormwater Infrastructure Interventions in Pennsylvania Urban Communities

Cities across the US are struggling to better manage stormwater quantity and quality to comply with Clean Water Act standards, as well as to enhance their resilience to projected changes in precipitation under climate change. Many cities are looking to green stormwater infrastructure (GSI; e.g. bioswales, porous pavement) as a strategy to manage these issues in a cost-effective manner, but they often struggle to find the resources to best implement GSI.

Here we have developed a planning algorithm that hones in on ‘sweet spots’ of GSI implementation that are hydrologically optimal, cost effective, and provide equitable access to benefits of GSI. We have used Lancaster, Pennsylvania as a case study to pilot this approach using available spatial datasets. In addition to advancing the science of optimizing GSI implementation, this work has cultivated ongoing transdisciplinary partnerships between Penn State researchers at multiple campuses and city practitioners, with the hope that we can aid practitioners in critical decisions that impact the well-being of their residents and the surrounding environment, and seed ongoing research into the effectiveness of GSI.

Resulting Funding

  • Pennsylvania Sea Grant (via NOAA)- $120,000. “Ecosystem services assessment for green stormwater infrastructure in Lancaster, PA”
  • Chesapeake Bay Trust- $196,183. “Impacts of salt loading on nutrient and metal processing in stormwater bioretention”

Resulting Publications

  • Identifying Sweet Spots for Green Stormwater Infrastructure Implementation: A Case Study in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Rouhangiz Yavari Bajehbaj, S.M.ASCE; Hong Wu; Caitlin Grady, A.M.ASCE; Daniel Brent;  Shirley E. Clark, M.ASCE; Raj Cibin; Jonathan M. Duncan; Anil Kumar Chaudhary; and  Lauren E. McPhillips, A.M.ASCE

Resulting Presentations

  • Yavari, R. (Graduate student), McPhillips, L., Brent, D., Grady, C., Clark, S., Chaudhary, A. K., Wu, H., Raj, C., Duncan, J., & Royer, M. (June 7, 2021). "Decision Making Framework for Detecting Sweetspots for Green Infrastructure Implementation in the Urban Areas," World Environmental and Water Resources Congress, American Society of Civil Engineers Environmental and Water Resources Institute (ASCE EWRI). (Oral presentation)
  • Yavari, R. (Graduate student), McPhillips, L., Brent, D., Kumar Chaudhary, A., Clark, S. E., Duncan, J. M., Cibin, R., Royer, M., Wu, H., & Grady, C. (July 19, 2020 - July 22, 2020). "Identifying sweet spots for green infrastructure implementation in Lancaster city, PA," Low Impact Development Conference, American Society of Civil Engineers- Environmental and Water Resources Institute. (Poster presentation)


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