October 2011 » Departments

Stormwater biofiltration
Engineers faced constraints during redevelopment of an upscale shopping center in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Because of the size and addition of more than 5,000 square feet of impervious surface, the project fell under federal, state, and local water quality requirements. The existing site with established drainage infrastructure posed a challenge requiring the engineers and design team to work with current slopes of the parking lot, including existing pipe inverts and downstream connection points. Four Modular Wetland Systems Linear 22-foot Underground Grate Type units were installed to collect water flows within the project site. Each unit was installed to treat just more than 1 cubic foot per second, which is equal to 85 percent of all runoff, while it continues to remove 100 percent of the flows' trash and sediments. These systems were designed for a shallow height to work with existing pipe inverts and consist of a solid concrete lid rated for indirect traffic.

Biofilitration units in a parking lot treat stormwater at an upscale California shopping center.

Disaster recovery
Soon after a powerful tornado destroyed six square miles of Joplin, Mo., on May 22, 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and partnering agencies were on the scene using GIS to manage the removal of approximately 2 million cubic yards of debris. Corps GIS specialists combined pre- and post-disaster aerial photography, parcel and property information from the city and county, sewer and water line information from utility companies, and electrical line data. In addition, field staff collected data using GPS units to update the information. Maps were updated daily and provided to staff in the field that was directing 500 trucks around Joplin to remove debris. Since many street signs had been blown away and structures destroyed, the GIS maps showed workers where the streets were and what residential and commercial properties needed to be cleared.

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