AN OVERLAY DISTRICT TO ADDRESS STORMWATER RUNOFF QUANTITY AND QUALITY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: EMPHASIS ON THE ANACOSTIA RIVER
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This Masters Project (MP) addresses the serious water quality issue of the Anacostia River in the District of Columbia. Focusing on non-point source pollution, the research explores the need for a more unified approach to stormwater runoff policy in DC and how specific examples from across the country can be applied to create a solution. It provides recommendations that will help reduce the burden on the combined sewer overflow (CSO) system that empties into the Anacostia River. Reducing the burden on the CSO system will reduce the number of overflow events during storms. Reducing overflow events and increasing runoff infiltration will have a direct effect on the water quality of the Anacostia River by reducing the quantity of raw sewage, trash, toxicants, and debris that enter the river. The research questions explored are: •What are the roadblocks to effective stormwater management in the District of Columbia? •What are the most effective strategies to eliminate CSO events? •How can a DC stormwater overlay district improve the water quality of the Anacostia River? Extensive literature review and interviews were conducted to define the current stormwater management approach in the District of Columbia. The interviews clarified common goals and conflicting objectives for stormwater management, as well as the degree of stormwater management fragmentation in the District. Analysis of the research and interviews led to the identification of gaps in stormwater policy. Further research was conducted to seek successful, model, local government stormwater district policies from across the country. Additional interviews were conducted with representatives of these municipalities (South Burlington, VT, Philadelphia, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Anne Arundel County, MD, and Portland, OR) to learn about the development and implementation of the specific program, as well as its successes and opportunities for improvement. A cross-case comparison was conducted to compare each program’s features and explore its applicability to the District of Columbia. Limited content recommendations were then developed for an Anacostia-specific Stormwater Management Overlay District, and implementation strategies were suggested. The results of the research, interviews, and analysis indicate that a Stormwater Management Overlay District would be an effective tool to reduce the burden on the Anacostia River CSO system. The overlay district will help to increase stormwater infiltration as runoff passes through the watershed. This tool could be used as a model for urban cities across the country that are facing similar CSO and stormwater management issues.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
District of Columbia
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Rights for Collection: Nicholas School of the Environment