Building Stormwater/Wastewater Utilities Resilient to Climate Change

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Building Stormwater/Wastewater Utilities Resilient to Climate Change

Building Stormwater/Wastewater

Utilities Resilient to Climate Change

Alice Brawley-Chesworth, PE


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• Don’t wait for

science to be

definitive

• “Bottom Up”

approach

• Don’t forget

natural

infrastructure

You Know Your Assets

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• Coastal Communities

Sea Level Rise

• Inland; Willamette tidally influenced

downstream of Willamette Falls

•Assets in / near floodplains

• pipes, pump stations, outfalls,

natural infrastructure

•Groundwater Levels?

• Constructibility, UICs

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Extreme weather & Increased winter

precipitation

• Erosion and turbidity

• Landslides

• Electrical outages/price fluctuations

• More flow to stormwater facilities

• UICs, greenstreets, swales, pipes, natural

infrastructure (including newly restored areas)

• Vegetation/habitat/wildlife shifts

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Higher summer temperatures

• Water quality

• Algae & bacterial growth, changes in chemistry

• Water temperatures

• Treatment process changes, fish survival, odor

• Soil temperatures

• Soil corrosivity, groundwater quality

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Higher Temperatures & Decreased

rainfall in summer

• Fire danger

• Water supply disruption

• Lower summer streamflows

Change assumptions for NPDES permits?

• Vegetation/habitat/wildlife shifts

• Increased invasive species & waterborne

diseases

• Natural areas, greenstreets, stream restoration

areas

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Surprise!

• You’re (probably) already adapting

• Stream restoration

• Green infrastructure

• Odor control

• Resource efficiency

• Invasives removal

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Adaptation Category 1:

Institutionalize Adaptation

• Build internal expertise

• Periodic updates:

• What’s everyone else doing?

• Latest research?

• Lessons learned?

• New regulations?

• Identify adaptation actions with benefits

across sectors

• Identify research gaps

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Adaptation Category 2:

Asset Planning

Climate is one of many risks

• Planning Study – include climate risks

• Preliminary Design – use up to date science

and data

• Materials Selection

• Vegetation

Building materials

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Adaptation Category 2:

Asset Planning

• Cost/Benefit analysis example:

• Alt 1 – best under existing conditions

• Alt 2 – best under worst case climate conditions

• Alt 3 – good under a broad range of future

climate conditions

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Adaptation Category 2:

Asset Planning

• Cost/Benefit analysis example:

• Alt 1 – best under existing conditions

• Alt 2 – best under worst case climate conditions

• Alt 3 – good under a broad range of future

climate conditions **** Most resilient

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Adaptation Category 3:

Emergency Planning

• Floods

• Landslides

• Wildfires

• Power outages

• Water supply disruptions

• Vector-borne disease

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Adaptation Category 4:

“No Regrets Actions”

• Prioritize for your needs

• Resource Efficiency (Mitigation too!)

• Accelerate Existing Programs (add fuel to the

fire)

• Re-examine Existing Programs (small changes

have big impact?)

• New Programs (have benefits besides climate

adaptation?)

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Adaptation Category 5:

Indicators and Monitoring

• Data Gaps

• Temperature vs. odor complaints?

• Sediment in pipes vs. storm intensity?

• Watershed health indicators?

• Continue Monitoring

• Design storm

CSO, SSO, stream restoration, floodplain restoration

• River levels

• Species survival

• Performance of Adaptation Actions

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Thank You!

Alice Brawley-Chesworth

alice.brawley-chesworth@portlandoregon.gov

503-823-4913

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