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Modeling Chicago's Rainblocker Program: Inlet Restriction in a Complex City-Wide Collection System Model

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The presence of inlet restrictors (“rainblockers” ) in Chicago's enormous combined sewer system presented a significant challenge to the system modeling effort and greatly increases the model's complexity. This paper presents a unique approach to representing the effects of the rainblockers by dividing runoff surfaces into “restricted” and “unrestricted” areas. The effect of restrictors and perforated manholes in each restricted catchment was represented with a composite head-discharge relationship that considers the capacities of the different types of devices in place. Following calibration against flow monitoring data, the resulting model was used to perform wet weather simulations and identify trunk sewer deficiencies and locations where basement backups could occur for various storm events. The completed city-wide model will serve as a tool to optimize the Rainblocker Program, characterize trunk sewer system performance and combined sewer overflows (CSOs), and assist in the planning and design of future system improvements.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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