October 9, 2013

« All News

David Roman and 'Intelligent' Flood Control Systems Featured in Erosion Control Journal

Geosyntec's design and use of "intelligent" regulated tide gates (RTGs) to address coastal erosion and protect sensitive areas against rising sea levels is the subject of a lead article in the June 2012 edition of Erosion Control, the official journal of the International Erosion Control Association.

In the extended feature, "Shoreline Strategies," Senior Staff Engineer David Roman details how RTGs offer coastal communities effective, flexible systems for the management of tidal flows in areas facing significant erosion impacts.

Geosyntec recently developed a RTG system able to manage tidal flows using real-time monitoring software and control technology to meet the goals of coastal restoration, resource protection, and flood control.

Roman, based in Geosyntec's Brookline office, said the system has many advantages over passive self-regulating tide gates, which are more traditional flood control systems that typically cannot be installed without heavy machinery. Their installation can be cost-prohibitive or not feasible for remote or inaccessible sites. They also lack the ability to provide real-time, actionable data that engineers can use to control inundation levels before, during, or after a flood event.

Geosyntec developed the RTG system with partial funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Institute for Coastal Estuarine Environmental Technology. The system includes three major components: a valve or gate subsystem, a compressor subassembly, and a real-time control platform developed by Geosyntec called OptiRTC.

"Let's say you install a traditional flood barrier, but 20 years down the road, sea level rise is higher than anticipated during the design phase, or storms become more intense," Roman said. "The flood barrier might not work as originally intended, due to the new conditions. If the RTG system is used instead, relevant variables can be changed on the fly to adapt to unforeseen changes. Cycling between inundation goals, low-level goals, and flood control goals, one can achieve a variety of complex, predictable, and precise synthetic inundation patterns and frequencies."

"The RTG system shifts critical design decisions from being embedded in concrete during project development to being embedded in software. These flexible systems are therefore able to quickly adapt to changing boundary conditions and environmental factors as well as feedback on past performance. The applications of intelligent tidal control are readily applicable to meet a wide range of needs and constraints at low-lying coastal areas throughout the world," Roman said.