Assessing stormwater control measure inventories from 23 cities in the United States

Benjamin Choat, Amber Pulido, Aditi S. Bhaskar, Rebecca L. Hale, Harry X. Zhang, Thomas Meixner, Lauren McPhillips, Kristina Hopkins, Jennifer Cherrier, Chingwen Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the 1987 Clean Water Act Section 319 amendment, the US Government has required and funded the development of nonpoint source pollution programs with about $5 billion dollars. Despite these expenditures, nonpoint source pollution from urban watersheds is still a significant cause of impaired waters in the United States. Urban stormwater management has rapidly evolved over recent decades with decision-making made at a local or city scale. To address the need for a better understanding of how stormwater management has been implemented in different cities, we used stormwater control measure (SCM) network data from 23 US cities and assessed what physical, climatic, socioeconomic, and/or regulatory explanatory variables, if any, are related to SCM assemblages at the municipal scale. Spearman’s correlation and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used to investigate relationships between explanatory variables and SCM types and assemblages of SCMs in each city. The results from these analyses showed that for the cities assessed, physical explanatory variables (e.g. impervious percentage and depth to water table) explained the greatest portion of variability in SCM assemblages. Additionally, it was found that cities with combined sewers favored filters, swales and strips, and infiltrators over basins, and cities that are under consent decrees with the Environmental Protection Agency tended to include filters more frequently in their SCM inventories. Future work can build on the SCM assemblages used in this study and their explanatory variables to better understand the differences and drivers of differences in SCM effectiveness across cities, improve watershed modeling, and investigate city- and watershed-scale impacts of SCM assemblages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025003
JournalEnvironmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development

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