Creating More Resilient Communities Through Optimized Drainage Design

By supporting green stormwater infrastructure

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November 4, 2021 | Meg Riley

5 minute read

Water is our most valuable resource. Thus, for decades, our government has been concerned with our water systems, particularly with the public safety of clean drinking water and healthy wastewater systems. The latest development in this pursuit is the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021, section 214 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which pertains to improving environmental and public health.  

More directly, it states, “This bill reauthorizes or establishes a variety of programs for water infrastructure. Specifically, it supports programs to provide safe drinking water or treat wastewater, such as sewer overflows or stormwater.”1   

While hosting a virtual event, discussing the details of this bill and its potential grant funding for municipalities, Ryan Brown, Innovyze Solutions Engineer focused on stormwater, in general, and making things more resilient for communities. In relation to section 50205 in the bill, Brown explained that, They’re basically amending some parts of the clean water act and allocating some grant money. There’s a section [section 50205] that allows municipalities to use these funds to enhance their stormwater management system.”  

The goal is to, ultimately, help communities become more resilient using improved technology. 

Optimize Sustainable Drainage Design 
To support this effort, and help communities become more resilient, Brown hosted a virtual event to discuss drainage design options using an enhanced software solution. This software allows its users to design systems quickly, easily, and confidently by providing design wizards, auditing, and validation tools. With this industry-leading drainage design software, plans are approved faster. 

Additionally, when designing and editing a model, the user is able to compare and contrast approaches during the planning phase. Brown explains, “We could go into the ‘comparison report’ and we can really quickly compare the two results side-by-side, instead of having multiple versions of the model.” This function allows the team to easily make comparisons and create reports for a submittal which will eliminate slowed-down progress during inevitable design revisions caused by external project factors. 

Intuitive Data Export & Customizable Audit Reporting 
Also, to meet those requirements and make sure plans are approved, it’s essential to check the properties of the design and results against a range of criteria. Therefore, it’s helpful to have a streamlined review and audit process. Using this software, audits can highlight violations of requirements to trigger additional analysis or validate and report missing data required to properly run the model simulation.  

As Brown explains, “One of the other major strengths of [our software] compared to other drainage design software out there [is] the auditing [capability]. Really, what this does is build that confidence that you’re going to meet those [regulatory] requirements instead of having to go through and manually check and make sure the diameters are in the correct range or velocities are being met – all that can be automatically checked.” He continued, emphasizing the goal, “But really, the ultimate goal here is that you’ll build the confidence that your designs will meet all those [regulatory] requirements.” 

Engineers can create easy-to-interpret designs in industry-standard formats to help streamline the approval process. Approving authorities can clearly identify compliance, ensure projects are meeting requirements, and confidently enable accountability where engineers can do better on behalf of the community they serve. 

Additionally, the right software solution can take modeling results and enable the user to pull it into clear templated report outputs. Now, engineers can leverage results and design data quickly and limit the amount of error-prone data transfer. With the intuitive nature of the data export, they can also share that data with wide-reaching stakeholders. All stakeholders, from engineers, to reviewers, to business managers, can maintain data accuracy across a wide range of tools. 

How Will Cutting Edge Drainage Design Software Help My Community? 
Helping the community become more resilient is the key to earning grant funds from the bill to better support water infrastructure improvement. A small section of the bill, called the Stormwater Infrastructure Technology section, Brown details is, “Among other things, they’re creating a center of excellence for stormwater control infrastructure that, basically they’re tasked with researching technologies that are out there to get a better understanding of all that kind of stuff.” Building a better drainage design using new, or updated, software fits into this concept. 

Brown concluded, “how we see ourselves fitting into this whole thing is the planning and the development areas as well as the development operations. So, kind of having the full circle effect there, to proactively manage your stormwater rather than doing anything reactive. Really, just taking preventative action.” 

You Can Protect Your Community by Managing Flood Risk
Green infrastructure drainage systems help prevent flooding by lengthening the time it takes stormwater to reach traditional drainage or river channels, and better mimicking the natural hydrology of a developed site. By retaining water and encouraging infiltration, low impact drainage structures can prevent pollutants entering watercourses and help improve water quality. We can help our communities, and become more resilient, by managing our stormwater better. Let’s build a drainage system that improves our water quality while also preventing flooding in our communities. 

To learn more about environmentally-sensitive drainage solutions and green stormwater infrastructure, to help your community thrive, speak with an expert at Innovyze. And to hear more from Ryan Brown or his co-presenter, Hunter Sparks, catch the replay of the on-demand Water Talks. 

 

Sources: 

  1. S.914 - Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 

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Tags: Drainage Design, InfoDrainage, Product Knowledge, green stormwater infrastructure

About the Authors

Meg Riley

Meg Riley

Digital Content Specialist

 

Meg Riley is a digital content specialist with a ten-year background in content writing.

Ryan Brown

Ryan Brown

Systems Engineer – Southeastern US

 

Ryan is a Systems Engineer with Innovyze with over 8 years of experience in consulting where he primarily focused on stormwater and riverine analysis, planning, and design using a variety of different software packages. His experience also extends to FEMA floodplain compliance and transportation hydraulics design.