Updates have been rolled out for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Stormwater Calculator (SWC), including a Low Impact Development (LID) cost estimation module and mobile web application version that can be used on both mobile devices and desktop computers.
A Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program webinar on January 31 introduced these new features and demonstrated example applications. The presentation, by U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD) landscape architect Jason Bernagros, will be made available as a recording, and the next free webinar in the series is scheduled for February 28, 2018 on “Village Blue Project: Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring in the Baltimore Harbor.”
EPA developed the SWC to help support local, state, and national stormwater management objectives and regulatory efforts to reduce runoff through infiltration and retention using green infrastructure practices as low impact development controls. It is designed to be used by anyone interested in reducing runoff from a property, including landscape architects, urban planners, developers, and homeowners.
SWC is part of the Green Infrastructure Modeling Toolkit, which also includes: a Green Infrastructure Wizard (GIWiz), Visualizing Ecosystem Land Management Assessments (VELMA), Storm Water Management Model (SWMM), and Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool (WMOST). These tools all aim to help communities manage resources sustainably through green infrastructure.
While conventional stormwater infrastructure largely consists of pipes and conduits to move water away, green infrastructure, such as rain gardens and green roofs, can help to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that flows into wastewater treatment plants or into water bodies untreated. SWC is a tool that may be used throughout the process, from stormwater management and green infrastructure design and planning to modeling runoff post-construction.
The January webinar outlined several potential applications for SWC, including:
- State or municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) post-construction stormwater design standards
- Voluntary stormwater retrofits for private property owners
- Voluntary programs like LEED (U.S. Green Building Council) and Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES®) stormwater credits
- Climate resiliency planning: for example, the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities
- LID/Green Infrastructure design competitions: the Campus RainWorks Challenge, DC Water Green Infrastructure Design Challenge, etc.
The presentation also looked at examples of urban stormwater management projects, such as rain gardens, porous pavement parking and bioretention areas, and tree box filters, and also EPA Green & Complete Streets Building Blocks Program recipients that had used the SWC to inform the design of green infrastructure features.
For more information about EPA’s National Stormwater Calculator:
ASLA Online Learning: US EPA’s National Stormwater Calculator (March 2015 recorded presentation)