February 16, 2016

Matt Bardol, Craig Clarkson, and Andrea Cline, to Present at the Illinois Water Environment Association Annual Conference

Matt Bardol, Craig Clarkson, and Andrea Cline, to Present at the Illinois Water Environment Association Annual Conference

Matt Bardol, Craig Clarkson, and Andrea Cline, are scheduled to present at the Illinois Water Environment Association's 37th Annual Conference in Champaign, Illinois, on February 29 – March 2, 2016.

The Illinois Water Environment Association (IWEA) promotes water knowledge at its annual conference by having technical presentations, speakers, competitions, vendor exhibits, networking, roundtable discussions, and more. This year's conference is called, Life Is Good Water: Renew For The Future.

Geosyntec Participation

  • Matt Bardol: Green Infrastructure Use in Stormwater Management
  • Craig Clarkson: Application of Genetic Algorithm Optimization Techniques for Design Optimization of MS4 Infrastructure
  • Andrea Cline: Water Quality Trading Incentives
  • Andrea Cline: Des Plaines River Watershed Workgroup Update

Presentation Abstracts

Matt Bardol

Green Infrastructure Use in Stormwater Management

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is undertaking an aggressive Phase II Stormwater Management study within a 27 square mile area in the South Side of Chicago that intricately examines urban flooding within a combined sewer system. The study is explicitly modeling the performance of green infrastructure to reduce basement backups, surface flooding, and the volume of water reaching the combined sewer system.

The detailed modeling of the system explores various methods to model and quantify the performance and cost of green infrastructure within the City's existing intricate InfoWorks model. Additionally, a detailed 2-D surface flow model is being developed for target sewersheds to explore the intricacies of overland flow to green infrastructure systems and their subsequent interaction with the combined sewer lines.

A key to the quantitative approach to evaluating the performance of "upscaling" green infrastructure at a broad scale is the integration of optimization software to evaluate over 500,000 potential combinations of both green and gray infrastructure solutions within the 27 square mile study area. Detailed costs and performance metrics are being evaluated and compared. Detailed pareto front curves are being developed for the range of solutions, comparing cost to performance. These intuitive graphs will provide MWRD and the City the breadth of knowledge to make informed capital improvement plans and policy decisions. The focus of the pilot study is to compare the range of performance and costs of a full suite of green and gray solutions, both traditional and innovative public private options. This study represents the first application of a genetic algorithm optimization evaluation on a combined sewer system to explicitly evaluate both green and gray infrastructure solutions.

For more information on Green Infrastructure Use in Stormwater Management contact Matt Bardol at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Craig Clarkson

Application of Genetic Algorithm Optimization Techniques for Design Optimization of MS4 Infrastructure

The use of highly sophisticated integrated hydrologic and hydraulic modeling tools for the design of stormwater facilities in Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) communities has resulted in profound improvements in the performance of these facilities. However, the stormwater facilities in an MS4 are rarely isolated and often are a part of a complex hydraulic network consisting of pipes, storage facilities, pumps and other elements. Engineers have traditionally employed a brute-force approach to identify the most optimal design solution for a stormwater problem by iteratively running a limited set of alternative options. The traditional approach of selectively running alternatives by a manual approach is extremely time consuming for a complex system and the results achieved are still not optimal. For a given system, thousands of iterations are required; however, budget and time constraints usually limit the analysis of less than a hundred options.

The use of a Genetic Algorithm Optimization technique is an evolving approach to truly design and identify an optimal solution for a complex MS4 stormwater system. The algorithm starts with a sample set of solutions and develops a new generation of solutions by eliminating the non-optimal solutions and combining traits of near optimal solutions. This process is repeated over and over until the suite of optimal solutions are found. With this technique, hundreds of thousands of alternatives can be evaluated and compared. The presented case study included over 200,000 alternatives.

The presented project involved evaluating a multi-faceted drainage system that collects approximately 356 acres of urban runoff in an MS4 community. The system is comprised of a network of streams, ponds, detention basins, and major trunk sewers. A watershed approach was taken for this project to effectively solve flooding issues and improve water quality to support an intelligent capital improvement plan (CIP) to support MS4 compliance. The use of a genetic algorithm optimization technique allowed the community to develop a multi-year phased CIP that achieved optimal performance by prioritizing improvements, while meeting annual budgetary constraints with an adaptive long term implementation strategy.

For more information about Application of Genetic Algorithm Optimization Techniques for Design Optimization of MS4 Infrastructure contact Craig Clarkson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Andrea Cline

Water Quality Trading Incentives

Water quality trading is generating considerable interest in Illinois because it has the potential to provide point source dischargers with flexible, low-cost alternatives for achieving numeric nutrient criteria, if and when they are developed. However, as demonstrated by the relatively small number of active trading programs across the country, the challenges of successfully developing and implementing a program are complex.

To address some of these challenges, the country's experts in water quality markets gathered in Lincoln, Nebraska from September 15th through the 17th to discuss how markets have evolved in the 10 years since the group first met and understand what the future holds for water quality markets going forward. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Water for Food, and The Conservation Fund sponsored the intense, three-day event for participants to share insights into how water quality trading can be used more effectively to achieve the originally intended end goal of water quality improvement. Discussions varied greatly from "trading" of stormwater detention and compensatory storage requirements, to wetland mitigation banking, to actual nutrient and other pollutant trading markets.

There are currently 27 active water quality trading programs in a number of states nationwide, including in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon, Colorado, Idaho, and Montana. Other states such as Delaware, Minnesota, Missouri, and Florida have programs under development. More than 70 groups have tried to implement water quality trading programs.

While a handful of Illinois representatives attended the conference, water quality agencies within the state can learn much by way of example. Key examples and case studies from across the country will be presented to help illuminate progress that has been made, lessons learned, and provide further insight on what we can accomplish within Illinois. Themes that were prominent across case studies including the need for demand, transparency, the importance of stakeholders and the new meaning of TMDLs – Trade More, Delay Less – will be emphasized throughout.

Geosyntec Consultants is currently assisting in the development of a state water quality trading program for the state of Missouri. As part of this presentation, we will discuss some of the specific challenges that, in our experience, must addressed to understand if nutrient trading would be a workable and effective program in Illinois.

For more information about Water Quality Trading Incentives contact Andrea Cline at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Andrea Cline

Des Plaines River Watershed Workgroup Update

The Des Plaines River Watershed Workgroup (DRWW) was started by a local group of municipalities, publically owned treatment works, and other interested parties as a way to cost effectively improve water quality at a local level. Andrea Cline from Geosyntec serves as the technical advisor to the group and will provide insight into the group's first year activities including membership, monitoring, and long term goals.

For more information about Des Plaines River Watershed Workgroup Update contact Andrea Cline at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Geosyntec Consultants
Geosyntec is a specialized consulting and engineering firm that works with private and public sector clients to address new ventures and complex problems involving our environment, natural resources, and civil infrastructure.

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