The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati utilized a sustainable watershed evaluation and planning process to enhance water quality in the Upper South Branch Mill Creek community.

By: Susan Moisio, CH2M HILL Principal Technologist

CH2M HILL’s Susan Moisio, will present the paper “Water Quality Enhanced by Sustainable Watershed Evaluation and Planning Process at the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati” on Wednesday, March 12 at 4:15 pm during WEF’s 2014 Collection Systems Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Co-authors to the paper are Sharon Jean-Baptiste, Klaus Albertin and MaryLynn Lodor of MSDGC. Doug Baughman served as the Principal Technologist for the study. WEFCollSys

Local governments and utilities across the nation are beginning to address the needs for implementing more sustainable stormwater and watershed management strategies. These needs are driven by the necessity to reduce stormwater contributions to combined sewer overflows (CSO), water quality and designated use issues, total maximum daily load requirements, numeric nutrient criteria, and flood risk reductions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the value of a “green” stormwater management approach and is encouraging utilities to consider CSO programs and other sustainable green infrastructure, as well as low impact development programs to minimize the development impact on hydrology.

In 2006, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) developed its initial Wet Weather Improvement Program, later re-branded as Project Groundwork, to manage urban wet weather challenges in a sustainable way. Working with consultants from CH2M HILL, MSD developed the Sustainable Watershed Evaluation Planning Process which balances sustainable and green infrastructure alternatives with traditional gray alternatives (i.e. sidewalks and pavement).

MSD conducted a study of the Upper South Branch Mill Creek (USBMC), an area located within Hamilton County, Ohio, which has 13 CSOs, 3 sanitary sewer overflows (SSO), and numerous areas of recurring basement flooding. The goals of the study included:

  • Reduce total CSO volume
  • Eliminate SSO events
  • Improve water quality
  • Support community goals and objectives for sustainable watershed planning
  • Identify the most cost-effective combination of green and gray infrastructure to meet MSD’s objectives

The study divided the USBMC area into multiple zones to evaluate possible solutions for better wet weather management. Two modeling components were used to evaluate the impact of the potential projects resulting from the study, including watershed modeling and green infrastructure modeling, in which CH2M HILL developed a Green Infrastructure Benefit Calculator to calculate stormwater runoff and reductions as a result of implementing Green Infrastructure strategies.

The potential strategies identified, such as installing green roofs, green street retrofits, separating sewers and other solutions tailored to the specific issues and characteristics of different zones within the study area, will enable the neighborhoods in the USBMC to become more livable communities.

SusanMosioSusan Moisio is a Principal Technologist at CH2M HILL with more than 26 years of experience in the planning and operation of wastewater collection systems. She has specialized in wet weather programs, flow monitoring assessment, condition assessment and optimization of wastewater collection system operations. She serves as the Global Technology Leader for Wet Weather Planning and Wastewater Collection.