Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2017DC188B

Performance Monitoring of Green Infrastructure Maintenance in the District

Institute: District of Columbia
Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $9,989 Total Non-Federal Funds: $4,795

Principal Investigators: Harris Trobman, Kamran Zendehdel, Dwane Jones

Abstract: Green infrastructure (GI) is still a relatively new approach to managing stormwater, and maintenance remains one of the key obstacles to its widespread implementation. It is well recognized that proper inspection, maintenance, and operations is needed of GI practices in order to ensure long term performance success. Additionally, a critical component of a successful program is to demonstrate the performance of the GI installation. With an immense number of GI projects successfully being installed in DC, their performance (stormwater control function) is tremendously impacted by lack of proper maintenance. If properly constructed and maintained, studies have shown that green infrastructure is capable of near complete attenuation of stormwater flow volume, with mean flow volume reductions measuring 99 percent for reported storm events. This project aims to better inform the design, construction, and maintenance of green infrastructure. Monitoring a project’s performance (across goals and benefits) allows decision makers to make informed decisions about how to adapt the future GI projects based upon the performance of existing projects. There is no city wide maintenance plan or national standards for GI practices maintenance guidelines. UDC and its partners are currently working on conducting GI trainings for maintenance and operations of bmps. However, there is a lack of guidance and locally based protocols to the actual current state of green infrastructure facilities including challenges and opportunities to inform operations and maintenance (O&M). This study will assess the current state of implemented green infrastructure BMPs located in the District. This will be essential in developing protocols that guide future design, construction, operation and maintenance of GI practices. Additionally, this information will be disseminated in green infrastructure maintenance trainings at UDC as well as released in a report format. This will be important for key stakeholders implementing GI practices including District Department of Energy and Environment, DC Water, District Department of Transportation, and building owners. For the research 2 UDC students will work with the principal investigators to select a cross section of 30 small to medium sized GI practices to collect design, performance and maintenance data. This will include a variety of BMPs including bioretention cells, rain gardens, pervious pavements, bayscaping, and rain-barrels/cisterns. Students will collect data and analyze the systems. The students will make use of the environmental testing laboratory collecting soil samples of each site to measure for buildup of heavy metals, nutrients, and sediment. Additionally, the study will measure temperatures, record plant stress, and record pictures of each system to analyze performance. Lastly, an analysis of the biodiversity, aesthetics, heat island effect, survival rate of planting, accumulation of sediment, and comparison of noticeable maintenance, construction, and design challenges across the different systems. Perhaps the most important piece of this project is the potential to help ensuring the long term performance success of green infrastructure BMPs.