Stormwater Management Optimization Toolbox

Heidi Howard | U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - ERDC-CERL



As stormwater regulations become increasingly stringent for hydrologic and water quality control, Department of Defense (DoD) facilities are faced with the daunting task of simultaneously complying with multiple laws and regulations, such as the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, Clean Water Act Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permits. This oftentimes requires facilities to plan, design, and implement structural best management practices (BMPs) to capture, filter, and/or infiltrate runoff. These requirements can be complicated, contradictory, and difficult to plan for. As a result, many DoD facilities over-build or over-size these BMPs to ensure compliance.

This project will demonstrate a Stormwater Management Optimization Toolbox that is specifically designed to help DoD facilities achieve compliance with regulatory stormwater requirements for the minimum cost possible. The toolbox identifies the most cost-effective modeling method based on a facility’s local conditions, provides a range of modeling platform sophistication, and facilitates ease of implementation. The demonstration will take place in two phases:

  1. Validate that the modeling method recommendation accurately results in the minimum BMP cost for 45 facilities of widely varying climatic and regional conditions.
  2. Demonstrate the toolbox at two facilities to showcase the capabilities of the model platforms, illustrate the ease of implementation, and ultimately validate the model selection element.

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Technology Description

Previous studies conducted at Barksdale and Minot Air Force Bases (AFBs) have demonstrated that the selection of modeling methods to achieve compliance can significantly influence BMP sizes and, therefore, implementation costs. Ongoing studies with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center have identified that the key factors that influence whether or not a more sophisticated continuous simulation approach will result in smaller BMPs compared to a simple design storm approach include the distribution of soils, rainfall patterns, drainage network, and regulatory requirements. A Model Selection Tool was developed to evaluate these factors and predict which model method would be most cost-effective at individual facilities. The tool was tested at twelve locations around the country with over 90% accuracy. In addition to the Model Selection Tool, the Barksdale and Minot AFB projects demonstrated the range of Scaled Model Platforms necessary to provide flexibility in cost and sophistication of analysis and a BMP Sizing Tool/Master Plan that simplifies the transfer of information from the models into easily implementable guidance. Together, these three elements (i.e., the Model Selection Tool, Scaled Model Platforms, and BMP Sizing Tool/Master Plan) constitute the Stormwater Management Optimization Toolbox.

This project will validate the toolbox’s ability to accurately choose the more cost-effective modeling method in varying climates and regions by demonstrating it at 45 installations across the country. The Model Selection Tool will be exposed to a sensitivity analysis to prioritize the factors that influence the determination of more cost-effective modeling methods, and it will be further enhanced if needed. The project also will carry out full-scale demonstrations of the toolbox on two DoD installations: one requiring a simple continuous simulation method and the other requiring the more sophisticated continuous simulation coupled with optimization method. A successful demonstration will confirm the consistency between the Modeling Selection Tool recommendation and the modeling analysis results.

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The demonstration and validation of this toolbox across a wide range of conditions will ensure that DoD will be well positioned to significantly reduce BMP implementation costs in the near future. The toolbox eliminates the guesswork of selecting a model method, reduces modeling costs by predicting when sophisticated modeling can be avoided, reduces BMP sizes and costs through optimization when it is cost-effective, and streamlines the compliance and design processes by providing simplified guidance in the form of a BMP Sizing Tool or Master Plan. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2016)

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Ms. Heidi Howard

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - ERDC-CERL

Phone: 217-373-5865

Fax: 217-373-7266

Program Manager

Resource Conservation and Resiliency