March 14, 2016

Geosyntec Practitioners to Present at the 2016 MWEA/AWWA Joint Annual Conference

Matt Bardol, Tom Wallace, Craig Clarkson, Rishab Mahajan, and Adrienne Nemura are scheduled to present at the 2016 Missouri Water Environment Association (MWEA) and the Missouri Section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Joint Annual Conference at Osage Beach, Missouri, March 20-23, 2016.

The MWEA/AWWA Joint Annual Conference is for water and wastewater professionals to explore the state of the practice concerning wastewater and drinking water.

Geosyntec Participation

  • Matt Bardol - MWRD of Greater Chicago Phase II Pilot Study – Addressing City of Chicago Urban Flooding
  • Tom Wallace and Adrienne Nemura - Advances in Nutrient Trading in Missouri and the US
  • Craig Clarkson - Application of Genetic Algorithm Optimization Techniques for Design Optimization of MS4 Infrastructure
  • Rishab Mahajan - Receiving Water Modeling for Evaluating Discharges of Lime Sludges from Drinking Water Treatment Plants
  • Adrienne Nemura - Users’ Guide for Integrated Planning for Wastewater and Stormwater

Presentation Abstracts

Matt Bardol

MWRD of Greater Chicago Phase II Pilot Study – Addressing City of Chicago Urban Flooding

The 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. 

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. 

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. 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 Floodplain and Stormwater Management contact Matt Bardol at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tom Wallace and Adrienne Nemura

Advances in Nutrient Trading in Missouri and the US

Water quality trading is generating considerable interest in Missouri 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. 

While a handful of Missouri 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. Geosyntec 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 state’s progress toward implementing trading and address the specific challenges that, in our experience, must addressed to understand if nutrient trading would be a workable and effective program in Missouri.

For more information on Nutrient Trading contact Tom Wallace at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Adrienne Nemura 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 on Genetic Algorithm Optimization techniques contact Craig Clarkson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Rishab Mahajan

Receiving Water Modeling for Evaluating Discharges of Lime Sludges from Drinking Water Treatment Plants

Discharge of water treatment residuals to the receiving waters including lime softening solids, has been allowed by state agencies and USEPA in the past. However, USEPA is currently considering limiting treatment residual discharges into receiving waters because of violation of instream Water Quality standards and potential (but undocumented) impacts to aquatic life and discoloration of the water in the near vicinity of discharge. In lieu of discharge, many treatment plants would be faced with disposing of these solids in a landfill or elsewhere, resulting in significant cost in disposal. This paper presents a modeling case study to assess whether the current Water Quality standards could be achieved through the implementation of plant level BMP’s and diffuser.

Cornell Mixing Zone Expert System (CORMIX) model was used to simulate the hydrodynamics in the receiving water. The results of the CORMIX model were used along with the in stream and effluent concentrations in a Water Quality (WQ) spreadsheet model to simulate the in stream water quality at various downstream locations in the river. The simulated instream concentration was compared to the instream water quality standards for pH, Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Turbidity and Color. The modeling results indicated that Water Quality standards could be met through the use of diffuser at different flow conditions.

For more information on BMPs and diffusers contact Rishab Mahajan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Adrienne Nemura

Users’ Guide for Integrated Planning for Wastewater and Stormwater

In 2000, U.S. EPA started an enforcement initiative to require municipalities to remedy chronic dis-investment in sewerage systems. The resulting “siloed” enforcement approach failed to recognize how U.S. EPA’s regulatory inflexibility was having economic consequences (dis-investment in stormwater and drinking water infrastructure) and environmental consequences (lack of meaningful improvements in water quality). The U.S. Conference of Mayors and other entities entered into a dialogue with U.S. EPA and the Department of Justice to articulate these consequences. U.S. EPA responded with the Integrated Planning Framework (IPF) for wastewater and stormwater master planning and Financial Capability policies.

Since this is a new approach, few communities have initiated integrated plans and only a few are complete. The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) identified the need to complete a gap analysis to help municipalities determine (a) whether to pursue integrated planning and (b) how to address gaps in the tools or information to prepare a successful plan. This presentation will describe the research approach that is being taken, the results of a Community Insights Survey, and some example case studies. Audience questions and input will be used to improve the project outcomes which will include a Users’ Guide (web page) that includes a “top ten” list of what to do and not do; planning tools; data gaps; observations; and other useful elements.

For more information on Integrated Planning for Wastewater and Stormwater contact Adrienne Nemura at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information about the Great Lakes Water Resources Team activities, visit: https://geosyntec.com/great-lakes-water-resources

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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