The City of Waltham, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, is dedicated to reducing the impacts of climate change to the city’s buildings and infrastructure, environment, and vulnerable populations. In fact, they have identified flooding related to climate change as their most prevalent and serious natural hazard. To help respond, the city retained Weston & Sampson to help them procure grant funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant Program to support a Resilient Stormwater Management and Implementation Plan to address the city’s vulnerable stormwater infrastructure. The objectives of this project are to:
- develop a comprehensive and resilient management and implementation plan for the stormwater system;
- identify priority stormwater projects and key areas to equitably incorporate green infrastructure;
- evaluate projects to more efficiently direct future resources; and
- better maintain, protect, and improve the assets and natural resources of the city through proactive stormwater management.
Weston & Sampson began by collecting historic information about the city’s stormwater infrastructure along with a field reconnaissance survey that included a stream assessment to document stream conditions. Our field survey helped us verify the locations and conditions of drain manholes, catch basins, outfalls, stormwater mains, culverts, and other stormwater infrastructure. The Resilient Stormwater Management and Implementation Plan will include an assessment of the opportunities to implement green infrastructure techniques such as stormwater infiltration basins, bioswales, rain gardens, and others that are considered to be climate resilience best management practices. To ensure proper design of these features, we will develop a stormwater infrastructure model to evaluate the potential effectiveness of both green and grey infrastructure improvements under a range of design storm events and under baseline and future climate conditions. We will also advance the city’s efforts at illicit discharge detection and elimination with specific consideration of climate change to ensure the city’s stormwater infrastructure is and remains resilient.
A major aspect of the plan is significant public and stakeholder engagement efforts, which will ultimately serve to strengthen the plan and increase the likelihood of final plan approval. We will leverage existing engagement platforms such as volunteer outings, the city’s webpage, mailings, and tabletop displays to disseminate new materials. We will attend several public events and will translate our materials into Spanish to better serve the city’s large Hispanic population.
The city’s Resilient Stormwater Management and Implementation Plan will provide a clear understanding of the stormwater drainage system existing conditions and a five year action plan focused-on equitable climate resilience. The plan will incorporate climate resiliency into an action prioritization process and would assess where to locate green infrastructure and nature-based solutions to mitigate localized flooding. The plan will also avoid many costs related to repairing flood damage and help alleviate summer heat in an urbanized community where the urban heat island effect is expected to intensify under climate change.
- field survey and reconnaissance
- stormwater modeling to ensure proper design
- green infrastructure
- illicit discharge detection and elimination
- community engagement