Written by: Scott Struck, Ph.D., M.ASCE, ENV SP, F.EWRI, EWRI Past-President and published in the 2020 Fall Currents
ASCE doesn’t just talk about sustainable infrastructure, we practice it! While SARS-CoV-2/ COVID-19 has upset our daily lives, the vacancy of staff and visitors has provided an opportunity to easily retrofit the ASCE headquarters parking lot in Reston, Virginia.
ASCE decided, when considering the need to repave the parking lot, to invest in green stormwater infrastructure to demonstrate and practice its obligation to sustainable engineering. ASCE reached out to EWRI, which has many professionals that research and practice green stormwater infrastructure design, installation, and monitoring, to assist in the parking lot design retrofit.
Many EWRI members participated to shape the design while others contributed to developing a monitoring strategy to more simply demonstrate the benefits of this investment. EWRI design practitioners helped to shape the final drainage and stormwater treatment systems that included Stormcrete® Precast Porous Concrete to help filter and infiltrate stormwater runoff from the impervious areas of the parking lot. Downstream from the porous concrete in this treatment train is a bioswale filter to further remove pollutants from the runoff. In other locations ASCE placed Filterra® stormwater treatment units at inlets and installed Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement (PICP) to reduce the overall impermeable area that would generate runoff. Monitoring recommendations included documentation of the construction process, installation of staff gauges and other electronic depth sensors to understand filling and emptying dynamics of the bioswale, as well as soil moisture sensors and other inexpensive equipment to document changes during and between storm events. A camera was donated to document the construction activities and serve as a visual monitoring system into the future. Due to the timing of the installation, pre-installation monitoring was not feasible. Monitoring results will be published in a future Currents article.
The investments made by ASCE demonstrates the commitment to green stormwater infrastructure and sustainable engineering in general. It is exciting to see ASCE lead by example to “engineering tomorrow” through meaningful actions and inclusion of members to advance the state of the practice.