Estimating green roofing and storm water regulation in an urban environment
Bolt, Matthew David
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The City of Boston land use has altered the surrounding watersheds through creation of infrastructure, damming, landfill, and expansion of impervious surfaces. The continued growth of the City has historically outstripped the capacity of its combined storm and sanitary sewer system, necessitating discharges into area water bodies. In light of model forecasts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicting precipitation increases it is likely the already strained system will need additional capacity. Boston's tradition of expanding artificial capacity is compared to the City of Curitiba's enhanced natural capacity stormwater management plan. Limitations in both are discussed and the author concludes the City of Boston would benefit from increasing decentralized natural capacity through green rooftechnology. To investigate this claim remote sensing data was analyzed over three neighborhoods. The resulting available green roofing area was then combined with historical climate data to create a retention response model. The extrapolated city-wide model predicted retention of 19%-27% of total building received rainfall from 1983-2009. This model was then correlated with Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) discharge National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System report data. The retention volume was found to accommodate most discharges in the FY2009 as well. Thus, extensive green roof technology presents a supplemental capacity building strategy for the City of Boston to avoid increases in future CSOs.
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