Category: Stormwater & Green Infrastructure

An Integrated Physical-Social-Community (PSC) Approach for Sustainable Shore Protection, Beach Integrity, and Bluff/Dune Stabilization Along Lake Michigan

The overall goals of this project are to:

  • Better understand coastal processes in terms of nearshore hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and coastal morphology under changing climate forcing in Lake Michigan
  • Help effectively communicate to stakeholders, with the purpose of promoting sustainable shore protection, increasing the integrity of beaches; and stabilizing bluffs/dunes in Lake Michigan


Building a smart water quality monitoring program to improve environmental justice in Southern Lake Michigan

The long-term goal of this project is to develop smart water infrastructure to help improve water management in the southern Lake Michigan region, particularly for communities in historically disadvantaged locations. The short term goal is to develop a program to assess contamination, hydrology, and water quality in impoverished areas of South Chicago. The specific objectives of this project are to: 1) implement flow and water quality sensors to assess pollution in select locations, 2) develop a stormwater model to assess the effects of hydraulic infrastructure and land usage on hydrology and water quality, 3) build collaborations with other water quality professionals in the Southern Lake Michigan region, and 4) create proposals for submission to other funding agencies to continue development of this program. The results are expected to increase ecosystem health, improve the resiliency of communities and economies, and enhance environmental literacy and workforce development. 

Development of Freeze-Thaw Resistant Porous Asphalt Mixtures for Southern Lake Michigan Flexible Pavements

Although widely used in Europe and Asia, porous asphalt has not been extensively used in the southern Lake Michigan region due to its poor resistance to freeze-thaw. This study aims to (i) synthesize the existing literature on porous asphalt, (ii) determine the need for porous asphalt pavements on the southern Lake Michigan coast, and (iii) develop in the laboratory a porous asphalt mixture capable of resisting freeze-thaw cycles common to this region. 

Identifying the impacts of urban green space on thermal pollution in the Chicago River

This project will identify the drivers of thermal pollution within the Chicago River and examine the role of green space at the buffer and catchment scale in reducing water temperature. Specifically, this will include the calculation of daily thermal loads from potential sources of thermal pollution to identify the drivers of water temperature in the Chicago River. Thermal loads will be calculated for wastewater discharges, inflow from Lake Michigan, stormwater runoff, combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and cooling water discharges using data provided by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and modeling outputs from the Minnesota Urban Heat Export Tool (MINUHET). In addition, statistical analysis will be completed to determine if there is a significant correlation between landscape metrics within the buffer zone or the catchment area and the thermal loads for surface runoff. Landscape metrics will include percent green space, number of patches and patch density at the buffer and catchment scales and will be determined using FRAGSTATS to analyze land cover data.

Improving Infrastructure Flood Resilience of the Southern Lake Michigan Region with Fluid-Structure Interaction Model

This project proposes a computational framework to efficiently simulate the flood-infrastructure interaction mechanism, assess the impact and risk of flood on the infrastructure in the southern Lake Michigan region and provide recommendations on the selection of rational infrastructure types suitable for the flooding area. The goal of the proposed research is to mitigate potential losses, improve the current post disaster reconstruction strategy and therefore enhance the flood resilience of the infrastructure and coastal communities in the Great Lake region. Key outcomes include an extensive literature review on the flood hazard data and infrastructure damage data in the southern Lake Michigan region, and a computational framework that integrates the fluid-structure interaction model and flood risk assessment model.

Quantifying Impacts of Green Infrastructure on Transport of Road Salt to Groundwater and Surface Water: Tradeoffs and Challenges

In the proposed work, we will explore opportunities and tradeoffs associated with the use of green infrastructure for stormwater management. In particular, we seek to quantify the extent to which increased percolation of stormwater, driven by increased use of green infrastructure, may be increasing groundwater chloride (Cl-) concentrations in communities surrounding Southern Lake Michigan.