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A Case Summary of Green Infrastructure: Pilot Projects and Opportunities

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Since 2008, the City of Indianapolis has constructed several Green Infrastructure (GI) pilot projects in order to determine their benefits on both combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and the separate stormwater system. One of the early projects, the Fall Creek Bioretention Pilot, was completed in 2009. Similar stormwater planters and other GI were incorporated into the Indianapolis Cultural Trail project from 2007 to 2012.

The City of Indianapolis is considering pursuing a grant for post-construction monitoring of the pilot Bioretention facility. Prior to the sampling program's initiation, water level data was collected for a few storm events and a hydraulic model for the site was developed and validated using EPA SWMM. The validated model determined that the Bioretention facility, which was sized using Indianapolis Stormwater Standards (Indianapolis DPW, 2007), is overachieving its design criteria and has the opportunity to receive stormwater flow from additional impervious area in the Fall Creek combined sewer system. The discrepancy between the observed and validated performance to the planned performance from the city's stormwater standards is primarily due to the infiltration performance of the Bioretention facility.

The City of Indianapolis has applied the site-specific findings of the Fall Creek Pilot to project the potential impacts of GI to the entire combined sewer system. Utilizing the Indianapolis SWMM model, an evaluation of concept GI from the Green Infrastructure Master Plan (Indianapolis Office of Sustainability, 2010) was performed to determine potential CSO volume and frequency reductions. The evaluation determined that the best opportunity to reduce CSO volume was for CSOs with high overflow frequency (40 or more discharge events per year). For these high frequency CSOs, up to 25% reduction in annual average volume could be expected from GI allocations intended for traffic calming and beautification purposes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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