Collaboration, Science,
and Technology Merge to
Improve Water Quality
David Gamstetter
Donna Murphy

Cincinnati Park Board...
Aging Sewer Infrastructure
 Cincinnati/Hamilton County is one of 772 cities in the US
with a combined sewer system.
 Ham...
Combined Sewer Overflows

MSD’s sewer system during wet weather based on the typical year rainfall.
Combined Sewer Overflows

Annually 14 billion
gallons of untreated
stormwater and
sewage overflows
from CSOs
Hamilton Coun...
Consent Decree
The consent decree with the US EPA, Ohio EPA, and
ORSANCO (the regulators) mandates that Metropolitan
Sewer...
Default Solution – Storage Tunnel
The approved solution was a $244M tunnel:
 30 feet in diameter
 1.2 miles long
 1.6 b...
What if a sewer project…
 Could be more than a sewer project?

 Could improve stormwater quality?
 Could be a strategic...
What if it could….
 Signify as a catalyst for community transformation?

 Establish a new watershed based model for comm...
Project Groundwork
 One of the largest public works projects in
Cincinnati’s 200+ year history.

 Green solutions for st...
Project Groundwork
Provides community and social benefits by:

 promoting environmental, social, and economic
solutions.
...
Lick Run Watershed
The Lick Run watershed is 2,700 acres in
Cincinnati’s west side, and is home to
the largest CSO in Hami...
Click to add Title
U.S. Forest Service
Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry
Federal Policy Drivers
1. Clean Water Act - To restore and maintain the
chemical, physical, and biological integrity of th...
Forest Service Policy Drivers
USFS National Priorities
 Conserve and Manage Working Forests Landscapes
 Protect Forests ...
….across all

landscapes

NA S&PF Strategic Plan 2013-2018
Use the best available science and commitment to respond to for...
Science
1. UTC Study (2000 and 2011 Multi-State)
 39% UTC
 UTC decreased 1.2% since 2000.
 28 of Cincinnati’s 52 neighb...
Ohio River Basin Grant Purpose
“A collaborative approach demonstrating water
quality improvement practices in forested and...
Why the Ohio River Basin
Project is Important
This project addresses water quality degradation from runoff
by land use con...
Ohio River Basin Project
Innovative management at the landscape scale to
address water quality, stormwater management, and...
Ohio River Basin Project
Outputs
 Green infrastructure and stormwater control
measures
Short and medium-term outcomes wil...
Ohio River Basin Project

The Ohio Division of Forestry manages over 200,000
acres of state forest lands. Since European s...
Ohio River Basin Project
 Ohio State University

 Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati
 City of Cincinnati...
Ohio River Basin Project

The ODNR and OSU will locate, classify, and record all
forested wetlands currently within Ohio’s...
Driver: Ohio State Action Plan
Ohio State Action Plan








Forests health
Water quality
Forest management
Conser...
Connecting to the Landscape
52 Local Partners
 Regional Plans - Agenda 360
 County Plans - MSD Wet
Weather Plan
 City P...
Defining Landscape Scale
Critical Needs Assessment
The 2010 Ohio/Michigan Regional Urban Tree
Canopy Assessment and Implementation Project
is a col...
Urban Tree Canopy Study
The UTC Assessment:

 Serves as a benchmark
from which to measure
success of future programs.
 L...
Urban Tree Canopy Study
 Used 5 GIS to map landcover in Hamilton County,
(trees and forests, impervious surfaces, open sp...
CITYgreen Studies 2010
GIS-based model used to calculate the ecosystem services and value of
Cincinnati’s existing urban f...
Environmental Services of Trees

Cincinnati Parks provide $5,075,000 in
Annual stormwater management benefits
Environmental Services of Trees

Cincinnati’s urban forest provides $42,404,000
In annual pollution removal and stormwater...
Distribution of Existing
UTC by Creekshed
Environmental Benefits
calculated by CITYgreen (example)
CARBON BENEFITS
Carbon storage: 1,659.57 tons
Carbon sequestratio...
Cost Benefit Analysis Environmental
Services
Provided by Cincinnati Street Trees

Stormwater, carbon, air pollution abatem...
Chiquita Brands donated and planted 80 Trees
as part of a corporate service project
Ault Park Stormwater Separation Project
Ault Park Stormwater Separation Project
Ault Park Stormwater Separation Project
“….the

best available science

www.itreetools.org
i-Tree Hydro
Watershed model that calculates the impacts of tree cover and impervious surfaces on
stormwater runoff. Uses ...
Lick Run i-Tree Hydro
 100 % forest, shrub understory = 0 runoff
 Shrub understory restoration = 1.9% reduction in flow ...
Triple Bottom Line
Weighs the economic, social, and
environmental cost-benefits of a project.

Community

Economic: Jobs, ...
Lick Run Master Plan
Urban Waterway Plan
Urban Waterway Plan
Lick Run Plan
Urban Waterway Plan
St. Francis Court Apartments Bioretention Features
Before & After

2009: Two levels of unused parking lots

2012: Two bioi...
Spring 2011, Ponding after rain event
Summer 2011, One year after installation
Special Thanks
Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality
Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality
Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality
Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality
Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality
Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality
Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality
Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality
Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality
Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality
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Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality

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Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality

Dave Gamstetter, City of Cincinnati | Donna M. Murphy, US Forest Service Northeastern Area

In 2010 the Cincinnati Park Board (CPB) formed a partnership with the Metropolitan Sewer Department of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC) to assist with the implementation of green solutions to meet the regulatory requirements of the consent decree using a triple bottom line approach. This presentation discusses how natural design solutions, BMPs, stormwater controls, and forests are being used to enhance green infrastructure and reduce stormwater flow on a watershed scale. The program is Project Groundwork.

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Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality

  1. 1. Collaboration, Science, and Technology Merge to Improve Water Quality David Gamstetter Donna Murphy Cincinnati Park Board U.S. Forest Service NA SPF
  2. 2. Aging Sewer Infrastructure  Cincinnati/Hamilton County is one of 772 cities in the US with a combined sewer system.  Hamilton County ranks 5th in the nation for urban combined sewer overflow (CSO) volume.  Up to 105 overflows/year in some CSOs resulting in 14 billion gallons annually overflowing into waterways.  Over 300 miles of streams once flowed through the lower Mill Creek, today only 75 miles remain with over 600 miles of combined sewers.
  3. 3. Combined Sewer Overflows MSD’s sewer system during wet weather based on the typical year rainfall.
  4. 4. Combined Sewer Overflows Annually 14 billion gallons of untreated stormwater and sewage overflows from CSOs Hamilton County CSOs - 212
  5. 5. Consent Decree The consent decree with the US EPA, Ohio EPA, and ORSANCO (the regulators) mandates that Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD):  Capture, treat, or remove at least 85% of the 14 billion gallons of annual overflows from CSOs  Eliminate all overflows from sanitary sewers (about 100 million gallons annually)
  6. 6. Default Solution – Storage Tunnel The approved solution was a $244M tunnel:  30 feet in diameter  1.2 miles long  1.6 billion gallons of storage The tunnel would meet mandates for compliance. Communities and watershed function would remain unchanged without any new reinvestment.
  7. 7. What if a sewer project…  Could be more than a sewer project?  Could improve stormwater quality?  Could be a strategic investment?  Could be greener?
  8. 8. What if it could….  Signify as a catalyst for community transformation?  Establish a new watershed based model for community planning?  Engage the neighborhood and local partners?  Generate community assets that attracted new interest and investment?  Create open space, enhanced streetscapes, and development opportunities?
  9. 9. Project Groundwork  One of the largest public works projects in Cincinnati’s 200+ year history.  Green solutions for stormwater quality  Improves quality of life — cleaner streams and improved public health.  Community enhancements
  10. 10. Project Groundwork Provides community and social benefits by:  promoting environmental, social, and economic solutions.  revitalizes the economy by creating local jobs and opportunities for economic growth.  reduces sewage overflows into rivers and streams and eliminates sewage backups.
  11. 11. Lick Run Watershed The Lick Run watershed is 2,700 acres in Cincinnati’s west side, and is home to the largest CSO in Hamilton County. Annually, 1 billion gallons of raw sewage, mixed with stormwater, overflows into Mill Creek. Of that total, 25% is sewage – the rest comes from stormwater and reconveyed stream flow.
  12. 12. Click to add Title
  13. 13. U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry
  14. 14. Federal Policy Drivers 1. Clean Water Act - To restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters 2. Safe Drinking Water Act
  15. 15. Forest Service Policy Drivers USFS National Priorities  Conserve and Manage Working Forests Landscapes  Protect Forests from Threats  Enhance Public Benefits from Trees and Forests USFS NA S&PF Strategic Plan 2013-2018  Best available science through the engagement of all partners across all landscapes.  X strategies of 27 could address water quality issues
  16. 16. ….across all landscapes NA S&PF Strategic Plan 2013-2018 Use the best available science and commitment to respond to forest threats through the engagement of all partners across all landscapes
  17. 17. Science 1. UTC Study (2000 and 2011 Multi-State)  39% UTC  UTC decreased 1.2% since 2000.  28 of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods <25% UTC 2. CityGreen (2000 and 2010)  Cincinnati’s annual savings - $2,190,420 in avoided stormwater costs. 3. i-Tree Hydro (2011)  Role of vegetation in managing stormwater.
  18. 18. Ohio River Basin Grant Purpose “A collaborative approach demonstrating water quality improvement practices in forested and urban landscapes within the Ohio River Basin” -US Forest Service ~ Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry, competitive allocation process
  19. 19. Why the Ohio River Basin Project is Important This project addresses water quality degradation from runoff by land use conversions and CSOs, that affect the health and ecology of the Ohio River and its tributaries. Key threats to Ohio forests (noted in Ohio’s FRAS):  Inadequate funding for conservation  Lack of public awareness  Lack of comprehensive planning  Water quality impacts from land management practices  Urbanization in a high priority landscape
  20. 20. Ohio River Basin Project Innovative management at the landscape scale to address water quality, stormwater management, and watershed health in priority landscapes.  State Forests  Municipalities  Outreach
  21. 21. Ohio River Basin Project Outputs  Green infrastructure and stormwater control measures Short and medium-term outcomes will focus on changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills, aspirations, behavior, policy, and practices.
  22. 22. Ohio River Basin Project The Ohio Division of Forestry manages over 200,000 acres of state forest lands. Since European settlement, Ohio has lost 90% of its wetlands. Goals:  Protect existing Ohio forested wetlands  Create new Ohio forested wetlands
  23. 23. Ohio River Basin Project  Ohio State University  Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati  City of Cincinnati  Ohio River Radio Consortium  Lower Olentangy River Watershed Urban Forestry Partnership
  24. 24. Ohio River Basin Project The ODNR and OSU will locate, classify, and record all forested wetlands currently within Ohio’s state forests. This data layer will be added to the Ohio Statewide Forest Resource Assessment & Strategy (FRAS). Water Management plans and BMPs can then be developed to protect forested wetlands.
  25. 25. Driver: Ohio State Action Plan Ohio State Action Plan        Forests health Water quality Forest management Conservation $ Comprehensive planning Impacts of urbanization Public awareness
  26. 26. Connecting to the Landscape 52 Local Partners  Regional Plans - Agenda 360  County Plans - MSD Wet Weather Plan  City Plans - Plan Cincinnati 2012 Lick Run Master Plan  Local Plans - Centennial parks Master Plan
  27. 27. Defining Landscape Scale
  28. 28. Critical Needs Assessment The 2010 Ohio/Michigan Regional Urban Tree Canopy Assessment and Implementation Project is a collaboration of the following organizations:
  29. 29. Urban Tree Canopy Study The UTC Assessment:  Serves as a benchmark from which to measure success of future programs.  Leverages support from partners.  Educates the public about the many benefits of trees.
  30. 30. Urban Tree Canopy Study  Used 5 GIS to map landcover in Hamilton County, (trees and forests, impervious surfaces, open space, soil and water).  Assess Cincinnati’s existing and possible Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) citywide and within creeksheds, land use types and census blocks.  Model environmental services provided by trees.
  31. 31. CITYgreen Studies 2010 GIS-based model used to calculate the ecosystem services and value of Cincinnati’s existing urban forest. Provides benefit estimates of the value of tree canopy for air pollution removal, capacity for 5 air pollutants, carbon storage and sequestration in lbs./yr., stormwater mitigated and water quality. Impervious surface, tree canopy, and land use layers were developed from aerial photography
  32. 32. Environmental Services of Trees Cincinnati Parks provide $5,075,000 in Annual stormwater management benefits
  33. 33. Environmental Services of Trees Cincinnati’s urban forest provides $42,404,000 In annual pollution removal and stormwater abatement benefits.
  34. 34. Distribution of Existing UTC by Creekshed
  35. 35. Environmental Benefits calculated by CITYgreen (example) CARBON BENEFITS Carbon storage: 1,659.57 tons Carbon sequestration: 2.89 tons/year POLLUTION REMOVAL BENEFITS Ozone: $3,930.17 (1280.7 pounds) SO²: $298.68 (397.7 pounds) NO²: $2,253.64 (734.3 pounds) PM¹º: $2,267.52 (1106.6 pounds) CO: $63.79 (146.7 pounds) STORMWATER BENEFITS Runoff reduction: 68.8% Time of concentration increase: 66.9% Peak flow reduction: 84.5% Storage volume (trees removed): 165,919 ft3
  36. 36. Cost Benefit Analysis Environmental Services Provided by Cincinnati Street Trees Stormwater, carbon, air pollution abatement Energy savings Total Benefits (1) $3,240,402.00 $4,760,000.00 $8,000,000.00 Annual Maintenance Costs $1,800,000.00 Return on $1 Investment Annual benefit for each tree Typical assessment on a 50’ wide lot Net annual benefit $4.44 $94.12 $ 9.00 $85.12
  37. 37. Chiquita Brands donated and planted 80 Trees as part of a corporate service project
  38. 38. Ault Park Stormwater Separation Project
  39. 39. Ault Park Stormwater Separation Project
  40. 40. Ault Park Stormwater Separation Project
  41. 41. “….the best available science www.itreetools.org
  42. 42. i-Tree Hydro Watershed model that calculates the impacts of tree cover and impervious surfaces on stormwater runoff. Uses slope, soil type, % of impervious surface, and tree cover to calculate the infrastructure needed to abate stormwater if tree canopy is not present. Cost savings are based on the avoidance of constructing infrastructure.
  43. 43. Lick Run i-Tree Hydro  100 % forest, shrub understory = 0 runoff  Shrub understory restoration = 1.9% reduction in flow if honeysuckle is replaced by native shrubs.  Herbaceous understory restoration = 1.4% reduction in flow if honeysuckle is removed and herbaceous layer regenerates.
  44. 44. Triple Bottom Line Weighs the economic, social, and environmental cost-benefits of a project. Community Economic: Jobs, business, and growth Social: community revitalization, parks Environmental: stream ecology, health, UTC Economy Environment
  45. 45. Lick Run Master Plan
  46. 46. Urban Waterway Plan
  47. 47. Urban Waterway Plan
  48. 48. Lick Run Plan
  49. 49. Urban Waterway Plan
  50. 50. St. Francis Court Apartments Bioretention Features Before & After 2009: Two levels of unused parking lots 2012: Two bioinfiltration basins with walking path
  51. 51. Spring 2011, Ponding after rain event
  52. 52. Summer 2011, One year after installation
  53. 53. Special Thanks

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