EPA Green Infrastructure and Stormwater toolkit

The U.S.EPA presented the Green Infrastructure Modeling Toolkit for Stormwater Management webinar on February 22, 2018.

Here are some of my notes from the webinar:

  • Researchers in EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) have been studying green infrastructure practices and developing models and tools to help communities manage their stormwater runoff and address nutrient impairment. The total estimated water infrastructure needs for the U.S. is over $48 billion for combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and $19.2 billion for stormwater management. Source
  • EPA developed a toolkit which consists of six green infrastructure models, tools, manuals, videos, fact sheets, and communication materials that can be used as educational tools and a reference source for low impact development design. The toolkit is available here: www.epa.gov/water-research/green-infrastructure-modeling-toolkit

The six modeling tools are:

  1. Green Infrastructure Wizard (GIWiz): is an interactive database of EPA’s green infrastructure tools, resources, and case studies. It’s very useful to narrow down your search and navigate an enormous list of green infrastructure tools and information resources. It could be particularly useful to get cost estimates, understand applicability and scale, and find examples of case studies and publications.
  2. Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool (WMOST): a MS Excel Spreadsheet decision-support tool for small watershed/community scale. It optimizes costs (given targets for base flows, peak flows, water storage, water quality, CSO events) and evaluates management options for stormwater, wastewater, drinking water and land conservation. It accepts inputs from many common H&H and water quality models such as HSPF, SWAT, SWMM, etc. It also links with EPA SUSTAIN/SWMM to automate calculation of gray and green infrastructure BMP runoff, and load reductions. The tool accepts flood-cost curves derived from FEMA HAZUS tool with publically available data from Flood Insurance Studies. More climate change, ecosystem benefits, human health, and energy savings co-benefits will be added to the tool this year.
  3. Visualizing Ecosystems for Land Management Assessment (VELMA): a hydrologically-distributed model to quantify the effectiveness of natural and engineered green infrastructure management practices to reducing nonpoint sources of nutrients and contaminants in streams, estuaries, and groundwater. Practices include riparian buffers, cover crops, and constructed wetlands. This model includes biochemical processes of fate and transport of water and nutrients on 2x2m cells. It was applied to many basins across the country, but most prominently, for Salmon recovery planning at the Puget Sound, WA and riparian forest buffer effectiveness for Chesapeake Bay agriculture, MD.
  4. Storm Water Management Model (SWMM): very popular model for large-scale planning, analysis, and design related to stormwater runoff, combined and sanitary sewers, and other drainage systems in urban areas.
  5. National Stormwater Calculator (SWC): a Windows-based desktop software and a web application that is designed for non-modelers to estimates the annual amount of stormwater runoff from a specific location in the United States (including Puerto Rico). The simple and interactive web tool is generally used for small (less than 1 acre to 12 acres) urban development sites and can model pre- and post-construction stormwater runoff discharges. It allows for planning- and screening-level analysis of green infrastructure options, includes a cost estimation module and a future climate scenario option. The SWC is a resource for all Rainwater Management Credits in LEED by the U.S. Green Building Council for all project types in all rating systems.
  6. Green Infrastructure Flexible Model (GIFMod): A new tool that allows modelers to focus their analysis on a single (or a few) green infrastructure options. It’s designed for constructing models representing detailed hydraulic and water quality processes within stormwater green infrastructure. It can also be used for other systems involving flow and transport in surface water, groundwater, soil or combinations of them. Unlike previous tools, users can define reaction rates and network, use deterministic and probabilistic models, model transport of particles between different layers, etc. GIFMod can be applied to evaluate long-term performance of individual green infrastructure, design optimization, evaluate the effects of different GI design on flow and water quality, and estimate physical and chemical parameters affecting GI performance.

Which of these tools have you used before?


One thought on “EPA Green Infrastructure and Stormwater toolkit

  1. For those interested in WMOST and optimization models:

    The current versions of WMOST optimize for (least) cost. The other endpoints of concern (flow, water quality) are handled as constraints. EPA is, however, working on a multi-objective optimization version using genetic algorithms which will allow users to optimize for multiple endpoints (cost and other) simultaneously and to examine tradeoff curves. Versions 1 and 2 of WMOST use linear optimization. Version 3 uses mixed integer and nonlinear optimization – necessarily more complicated once we added water quality constraints. The planned co-benefits module will allow quantification of nonmonetary benefits.

    Learn more about WMOST by attending EPA’s next webinar on March 8 from 1:00 -3:00 pm EST (registration link below)



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