Month: February 2017

EPA Blog Re-Post #4

Due to certain political circumstances, I will be re-posting links to EPA blogs I wrote while I was working there.

Here is the fourth one. Originally posted February 13, 2015.*

*I apologize if some links are no longer active. This is a few year old. 

Storm Water Management Model Gets Climate Update

By Marguerite Huber

Image of a flooded local park

EPA researchers are developing strategies and resources to help city planners, managers, and others address stormwater runoff problems, including those related to impervious surfaces and combined sewer overflows. One powerful tool available is the Stormwater Management Model, also known by its acronym, “SWMM.”

EPA’s Storm Water Management Model is a publically-available rainfall-runoff simulation model that provides a suite of information about urban water patterns. It is used for planning, analysis, and design related to stormwater runoff, combined sewers, sanitary sewers, and other drainage systems in urban areas, and is the basis for the National Stormwater Calculator.

SWMM has the ability to estimate the pollution loads associated with stormwater runoff. Various versions of the model have been in existence since 1971, and it has been used in thousands of hydrology and drainage system design projects around the world.

The tool is designed to be customizable, helping particular urban areas meet local watershed challenges. For example, municipalities and communities can use it to design and size drainage system components for flood control, to design control strategies for minimizing combined sewer overflows, and to control site runoff using low impact development practices.

The Storm Water Management Model Climate Adjustment Tool (SWMM-CAT) is a new addition to SWMM. It is a simple to use software utility that allows future climate change projections to be incorporated into SWMM.

SWMM-CAT provides a set of location-specific adjustments that derived from global climate change models run as part of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3) archive. These are the same climate change simulations that helped inform the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in preparing its Fourth Assessment report.

Both SWMM and the Stormwater Calculator are a part of the President’s Climate Action Plan.

“Climate change threatens our health, our economy, and our environment,” said Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator. “As part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, this tool will help us better prepare for climate impacts by helping build safer, sustainable, and more resilient water infrastructure.”

The continued development of predictive modeling tools such as SWMM will provide urban planners and other stakeholders with the resources they need to incorporate both traditional stormwater and wastewater system technologies with the emerging, innovative techniques of green infrastructure. The collective impact will be more sustainable urban areas and healthier waterways across the nation.

SWMM-CAT can be downloaded here.

Read the post in its original format here

Read the other posts:


Maps, Maps, Maps

This probably makes me super nerdy, but I really love maps.

I am a visual learner and physically seeing information helps me absorb it better than just reading or hearing about it. Maps and visuals also make a bigger impact on audiences.

Due to class scheduling conflicts, I was never able to take Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a course in graduate school. Basically, GIS uses data to spatial create maps and layers of different types of data and information to help answer questions and solve urban planning problems.

Now that I am out in the real world, I realize that I should have tried harder to fit it into my class schedule.

When I saw there was an opportunity to attend a 2-day GIS workshop here in Chicago, I jumped at the chance to learn a new skill for professional development and my own personal map fetish.

Over two days, we covered the basics of a skill that takes years to fully master, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

We worked with data sets and transformed them into spatial data and then applied layers of other data on top. It was so cool!


Don’t mind the Cheshire cat, he was just a placeholder for what would have been a company logo.


The most awesome part is that tons of regional GIS data is available for free!



BRB let me go make some maps.