Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - 4

ON THE ROOF WITH...

ON THE ROOF WITH...

ELIZABETH
FASSMAN-BECK, PHD.,
STEVENS INSTITUTE
OF TECHNOLOGY
AND MIKE HARDIN,
PHD., PE, CFM, WATER
RESOURCES ENGINEER
FOR GEOSYNTEC
CONSULTANTS
INTERVIEW BY STEVEN W. PECK, GRP, HONORARY ASLA

Civil engineers who work in the field
of stormwater management are facing
considerable challenges, from regulatory
agencies who are adopting green
infrastructure approaches to extreme
weather events that are challenging
baseline assumptions.
LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR / SPRING 2018 / 4

T

his winter, I caught up with Elizabeth Fassman Beck,
who teaches at Stevens Institute of Technology
in Hoboken, NJ and is the Chair of the Environment & Water Resources Institute, Urban Water
Resources Research Committee's Green Roof Task Committee and Mike Hardin, of Geosyntec to ask some tough
questions about the practice.
1. In your opinion, how has civil engineering practice around
stormwater management changed over the past ten years?
EFB: Stormwater infrastructure design objectives are
usually dictated by regulation. Historically, regulatory
compliance has been met with large, centralized facilities
designed to reduce flooding, stream erosion (theoretically), and property damage from reasonably larger,
infrequent events, and to provide water quality treatment
(removal) of particulate-bound pollutants.
By now, we know that designing stormwater systems
to address only these objectives falls very short of
protecting our receiving environments and communities.
Using technologies like stormwater green infrastructure
(GI), and overall approaches like low impact development
(LID), we should be minimizing runoff generation, trying
to keep runoff and pollutants out of the sewers with small
scale controls at or near the sources, and incorporating
methods to minimize discharge of a wide range of pollutant forms. Maximizing natural hydrologic processes
like infiltration and evapotranspiration and promoting
stormwater harvesting and reuse are essential elements.
Designing these functions to handle flows from smaller,
day-to-day size storm events is critical.
Where we see wide-scale implementation of these
ideas is where regulation has changed. Unfortunately,
regulation remains the driver, and change is the exception
rather than the rule. We have the technology. We need
policies to catch up and enable advancement.
MH: In regard to stormwater management, I think there
are still plenty of traditional grey infrastructure projects,
but I am seeing more green infrastructure projects, specifically, water quality improvement projects to remove
nutrients from stormwater driven by total maximum
daily loads (TMDLs), and NPDES permit requirements.
More recently, the areas of resiliency and sea level rise
have been given a lot of attention, especially for coastal
communities. This is resulting in more modeling of
extreme storm events and municipalities looking to make
their stormwater infrastructure more robust and resistant
to the effects of weather changes and sea level rise.
2. We keep reading about extreme weather events all over the
world? How, if at all, is the profession dealing with the 'new
normal' in terms of weather and climate?
EFB: In my opinion, dealing with extreme weather events is
still predominantly addressed in a reactionary way. Looking forward, design resilience and redundancy is the key.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018

Table of Contents
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - I
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - Cover1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - Cover2
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - Table of Contents
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - A1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - 1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - 2
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - 3
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - 4
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Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - 33
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - 34
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - Cover3
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - Cover4
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - M1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - AD1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - AD2
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - AD3
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2018 - AD4
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