Underlying the stormwater industry is a fundamental assumption that regulatory policy and engineering design guidelines create urban infrastructure that protects downstream receiving environments. Despite decades of research and increasing data availability, many jurisdictions retain minimal hydrologic and broad pollutant mitigation objectives derived from the knowledge base of the 1960s-1990s, while design approaches imply that different stormwater technologies perform every mitigation function equally, and/or all functions can be achieved by a single form of technology. To the contrary, the wealth of information now available provides opportunities to introduce evidence-based design and policy, to consider site-specific design in a meaningful manner, and to address the dynamic loadings of urban stormwater runoff.

As examples in this talk, data from green roof studies are used to explore nutrient management objectives, and how the composition of an individual technology can influence its performance. Permeable pavement and green roof monitoring studies, among others, are used to consider the potential of more sophisticated, yet somewhat traditional hydrologic metrics uncommonly applied to stormwater design, such as flow duration and frequency analysis, to evaluate hydrologic mitigation potential over a spectrum of rainfall events. The role of bioretention planters in combined sewer overflow mitigation by delaying runoff discharge is discussed in the context of this technology’s unique urban retrofit potential. Overall, the intention is to demonstrate credible metrics available now to advance the design and implementation of stormwater infrastructure to contribute to meaningful water resource protection.

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