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Downtown Shall not Flood again

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The City of Richmond, Virginia conducted a study to evaluate local drainage system in its downtown business district to remedy conditions that cause flooding more than once in a twoyear period. The main goals of this study are to evaluate the capacity of the storm water collection system in the downtown area to handle the 2-year storm event, identify system constraints and provide recommendations for improvement. The study area, Shockoe Bottom watershed, is a 65-acre sub-basin located within the City's largest combined sewer watershed, Shockoe Creek watershed, which has an existing land area of approximately 8,000 acres.

Extensive hydrologic and hydraulic modeling and analyses on the existing Shockoe Bottom drainage system, including the Dock Street Pumping Station, the Northeast Interceptor, and the stormwater inlets in the Shockoe Bottom watershed and in adjacent watersheds, were conducted. Field investigations included an inventory of the number and size of the existing stormwater inlets, and connectivity of roof rain leaders. The study showed that the storm water ponding in the downtown low-lying areas may be caused by: (1) Flows discharging into the Shockoe Box Sewer exceed the capacity of Dock Street Pumping Station. This is caused by: a) Excess flows transferred into the Shockoe Box Sewer from the Northeast Interceptor watershed and, b) Flow transferred from the Shockoe Arch Sewer into the Shockoe Box Sewer through existing gates between the Northeast Interceptor and the Shockoe Arch Sewer. (2) Excess overland runoff flow, which exceeds the capture capacity of the existing storm water catchments. This excess overland flow is from the downtown watershed itself and from the adjacent watershed to the east.

Based on these findings, a series of capital improvement projects were identified and evaluated to minimize the nuisance flooding in the downtown area. Benefit-to-cost analyses showed that the Northeast Interceptor improvements, installation of more stormwater inlets near the low points susceptible to flooding, as well as modification of Dock Street pumping station operation are the most cost effective measures.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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