Striking a Balance, Incorporating Water Quality into Drainage Improvement Projects
- Lisa Jeffery, Alysondria Eason - Hazen and Sawyer
James City County, like many other Phase II MS4 permit holders, is working diligently to improve water quality while also addressing citizen’s more tangible concerns for drainage improvements and flood mitigation. The County understands that to meet the ultimate pollutant load reduction requirements of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, they will need to incorporate water quality controls where possible. As a result, they have taken a proactive approach, incorporating water quality into a typical neighborhood drainage improvement project, demonstrating that every little effort counts and can be used to move the County towards water quality compliance. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the County’s stormwater program and funding capacity, and then focus on recent efforts to incorporate water quality improvements into what would have previously been an exclusive drainage improvement project. By incorporating water quality improvements in each project where adequate benefit can be achieved, the County will be addressing both their regulatory and flood mitigation drivers, an approach that will likely be required to meet the long term requirements of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and benefit from the cost-effectiveness of addressing multiple needs at once. The project showcased in this presentation is the retrofit of a neighborhood ditch system to improve drainage conditions while also incorporating water quality controls. The ditch system is undersized and has many common issues related to age and to lack of routine maintenance. Large sections of the ditch have become filled in and the culvert and drive pipes have become clogged, contributing towards localized and area-wide flooding with most storm events. Similar to many of the Phase II MS4s, the County has “right sized” their MS4 area and therefore has limited area for incorporating the water quality improvements required by the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. With foresight, the County will regrade and size the ditch system to carry appropriate design flow, thereby mitigating flooding, while incorporating bioswales, outfall improvements and educational BMPs to provide the pollutant load reductions.
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