Technical Papers
Feb 24, 2024

Supporting the Design of On-Site Infiltration Systems: From a Hydrological Model to a Web App to Meet Pluriannual Stormwater Volume Reduction Targets

Publication: Journal of Hydrologic Engineering
Volume 29, Issue 3

Abstract

Infiltration-based sustainable urban drainage systems (i-SUDS) often turn out to be simple and effective solutions for on-site runoff and pollution control. Their ability to limit the discharge to sewer networks or receiving waters can be broadly assessed in terms of (pluri)annual stormwater volume reduction. Although accepted as a relevant efficiency metric, this long-term volume reduction does not integrate well in design practices that have traditionally relied on event-based approaches. This article introduces a modeling framework, involving a hydrological model and machine-learning emulation, from which a web app was developed to allow practitioners to investigate the relation between i-SUDS design and pluriannual volume reduction efficiencies. The theoretical basis for modeling and a description of the web app are first provided. A diagnosis of the hydrological model is then conducted. The uncertainty caused by model parameters that do not directly relate to i-SUDS design is evaluated through a sensitivity analysis performed over multiple design scenarios. The latter is found to be highly variable and potentially significant, thereby justifying its explicit consideration in the web app. As part of this diagnosis, the impact of a shallow groundwater or a low-permeability layer on simulated volume reduction efficiencies is later evaluated to clarify the validity domain of the model. Practical recommendations on the minimum distance to shallow groundwater or low permeability layer, for the rainfall conditions considered in the web app, are given as a function of project size and the permeability of the soil media. The applicability of the web app is later illustrated from a selection of outputs. Its outcomes are finally compared to those of a simple design rule based on the combination permanent storage (as rainfall depths) and drawdown duration targets. Results confirm the inability of such simple design rules to fully capture pluriannual volume reduction efficiency and point out the risk of oversizing i-SUDS.

Practical Applications

Stormwater infiltration in small vegetated systems can effectively reduce runoff and pollutant discharge to surface waters. A well-accepted performance objective for such systems is to achieve a significant reduction of the rainfall volume at the annual scale. However, integrating (pluri)annual volume reduction targets in design practices remains difficult as they do not accommodate well with the back-of-the-napkin, event-based calculations traditionally used by the stormwater profession. This paper introduces a web app that allows practitioners to easily investigate the relation between the design characteristics of infiltration-based solutions and pluriannual volume reduction efficiencies. The approach shows how machine learning can be used to replicate at low computational cost the outputs of specialized hydrological models and be incorporated in larger-audience tools. Through an analysis of the validity domain of the app, the study also points out the potential reduction of efficiency that may result from the presence of a shallow groundwater or a low-permeability layer, an aspect often overlooked in the design of infiltration-based systems. The applicability of the app is illustrated from different usage situations. The relevance of the proposed approach is finally demonstrated through a comparison to a simpler, event-based design method, which proves unable to adequately capture pluriannual volume reduction efficiency.

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Data Availability Statement

Some or all data, models, or code generated or used during the study are available in a repository online in accordance with funder data retention policies. The Oasis-app is accessible at: https://oasis.cerema.fr. The Oasis code is freely available at: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7413958. Databases and other tools can be made available upon reasonable request.

Acknowledgments

This research was carried out under the OPUR research program. Model development was supported by the French Ministry of the Environment. The development of the web app was supported by the Seine Normandie Water Agency. Authors gratefully acknowledge OPUR partners (Seine-Normandy Water Agency, Val-de-Marne Departmental Council, Seine-Saint-Denis Departmental Council, Hauts-de-Seine Departmental Council, Seine-et-Marne Departmental Council, City of Paris and the Interdepartmental Association for Sewerage Services in the Paris Metropolitan Area) for their support.
Author contributions: The article was written by J. Sage and reviewed by E. Berthier, G. Chebbo, M.-C. Gromaire. The hydrological model was developed by J. Sage under the supervision of E. Berthier and M.-C. Gromaire. J. Sage, E. Berthier, G. Chebbo, M.-C. Gromaire were involved in the definition and the development of the Oasis-app.

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Go to Journal of Hydrologic Engineering
Journal of Hydrologic Engineering
Volume 29Issue 3June 2024

History

Received: May 24, 2023
Accepted: Dec 13, 2023
Published online: Feb 24, 2024
Published in print: Jun 1, 2024
Discussion open until: Jul 24, 2024

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Cerema, Equipe TEAM, 12 Rue Léon Teisserenc de Bort, 78190 Trappes, France (corresponding author). ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7747-9000. Email: [email protected]
Emmanuel Berthier [email protected]
Cerema, Equipe TEAM, 12 Rue Léon Teisserenc de Bort, 78190 Trappes, France. Email: [email protected]
Marie-Christine Gromaire [email protected]
Leesu, Ecole des Ponts, Université Paris Est Créteil, F 77455 Marne-la-Vallée, France. Email: [email protected]
Ghassan Chebbo [email protected]
Leesu, Ecole des Ponts, Université Paris Est Créteil, F 77455 Marne-la-Vallée, France. Email: [email protected]

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