Here comes the rain: Managing stormwater runoff

Posted on 01. Sep, 2010 by in Academic Departments, Annual Report, Engineering Professional Development, Issues

EPD program directors

The Badger Mill Creek Cascade Aerator is an innovative project owned and operated by the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and draws on treated water from the nine Springs Wastewater Treatment Plant. Constructed in 1998, the aerator helps to restore the natural balance of surface waters in the region. Photo: David Nevala.

Howard Rosen

Howard Rosen

As we build and pave more of the world, we create surfaces that encourage, rather than manage, runoff, says Engineering Professional Development Faculty Associate Howard Rosen. “With increased development and climate change, the issue of managing stormwater runoff in an environmentally sound and cost-effective way has become a crucial challenge for hydraulic engineers,” he says.

With a background in stormwater and flood control, Rosen coordinates a dozen unique courses related to managing stormwater. Among them is one that helps engineers, architects, contractors, developers and regulators involved in low-impact development projects take advantage of bioretention techniques and technologies. In this course, professionals learn how to evaluate a site, determine soil modifications, analyze construction and post-construction issues, and analyze the effects of best-management practices.

Another course introduces engineers, contractors and others to WinSLAMM, a computer model for urban stormwater management. “The model is a way of evaluating the water quality effectiveness of your stormwater program,” says Rosen. “The WinSLAMM software is a useful tool that helps stormwater engineers incorporate water quality into their water quantity designs.”

Historically, says Rosen, stormwater engineers have focused on designing structures that manage water quantity; more recently, as polluted runoff and groundwater depletion have become greater issues, their designs now must include components that address stormwater quality. “We need to take a sustainable approach to stormwater,” he says.

Rosen also offers four courses that center around learning, applying and mastering the HEC-RAS software program developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center. In use worldwide, these programs are important flow-modeling tools for engineers who design flood-control facilities.

Stormwater professionals from around the world can enroll in these courses in Madison. Groups also can have these courses delivered on-site anywhere in North America. “We teach people how to use these programs most effectively, and to determine which one may be best for them to use,” he says.

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