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The existence of global climate change is becoming more widely accepted and has now reached Hollywood with the recent movie “The Day After Tomorrow". While a giant tidal wave submerging New York may be within the realms of cinematic fantasy, there is still limited understanding of the impacts that projected climatic changes may have on existing collection system infrastructure by utilities worldwide.

A substantial amount of research has already been carried out on this subject area within Scotland, including scoping studies (Kerr et all, 1999) and case studies (Futter and Lang, 2001). These reports discuss the impacts on public utilities that substantial changes in rainfall intensity would have on sewers and related infrastructure, particularly with respect to compliance with European Union (EU) Directives.

A combination of these concerns, together with the background of an industry faced with uncertain future cost increases and a growing public perception of falling standards, created the driver to undertake a more detailed study of the potential impacts of climate change across the United Kingdom (UK) as a whole.

This paper will discuss the findings of this UK case study and draw parallels with climate change research work conducted within the USA. In addition, by taking into account the different types of collection system predominant in both countries, the paper will estimate the impact changing rainfall patterns may have on infrastructure and regulatory policies within the USA.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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