March 29, 2017

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Geosyntec Team Wins IAFSM Innovation Award

A team of Geosyntec professionals received the Innovation Award during the 2017 Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management (IAFSM) Conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, Illinois on March 8-9, 2017.

The award was given for their work on the Phase II Pilot Study. In the fall of 2016, The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and Geosyntec completed a first of its kind pilot study within a 17 square mile area in the South Side of Chicago that examines the integration of structural measures and green infrastructure (GI) to solve urban flooding problems within a combined sewer system. The detailed modeling explores various methods to explicitly quantify the performance and cost of a suite of solutions to reduce basement backups, surface flooding, and the volume of water reaching the combined sewer system. Core to the approach was the focus on outcome engineering to optimize solutions through an integrated approach of blending structural controls and green infrastructure.

A foundation of the study was the development of a tailored modeling framework that uses cloud-based computing to evaluate solutions to flooding problems. Due to the decentralized nature of GI and the potential effects distributed storage has on the hydraulics of the sewer network, thousands of potential GI implementation scenarios should be evaluated to adequately assess whether GI can provide significant flood protection benefits (from the 5-year to the 100-year design storm). The tailored analysis evaluated over 315 million options associated with the selection of practices, the placement of practices, and the size of each practice.

The study results indicate that GI provides an inherently flexible solution; however, it also clearly demonstrates that GI must be deliberately placed based on an integrated analysis. A simple, uniform distribution of GI is extremely costly and inefficient. The efficient use of GI requires a unique patch work of intelligent implementations that optimizes performance an can realize significant cost savings of over 40% as compared to a simple uniform distribution.

"During the ceremony IAFSM took extra time to detail our special innovation. This was the first Innovation Award because the organization had been waiting for a special and truly innovative project," said Craig Clarkson.

Key Team Members

  • Matthew Bardol, Project Manager
  • Mark Willobee, Cost Estimate Task Lead
  • Craig Clarkson, GI Toolbox and Screening Task Lead
  • Andrea Cline, Education and Outreach Task Lead
  • Marc Leisenring, Modeling Task Lead

More Information

For more information regarding the network, visit: 2017 IAFSM CONFERENCE
For more information on stormwater management, contact Matthew Bardol at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
To learn more about Matthew see his profile at: