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Integrated stormwater inflow control for sewers and green structures in urban landscapes

Abstract

Cities increasingly use real-time control of combined sewer systems and green infrastructure to decrease emissions to surface waters, and incorporate infrastructure into the urban landscape to reduce flooding from short, intense rainfall events called cloudbursts, which can cause flash flooding. Inspired by the ‘smart cities’ agenda, we propose the use of integrated stormwater inflow control to dynamically activate cloudburst conveyance infrastructure in the urban landscape as well as green storage elements more often than originally intended. This control facilitates synergy between sewers, green infrastructure and the urban landscape, and has lower environmental impacts than isolated control approaches. A simulated, yet realistic, case study in Copenhagen, Denmark, shows that combined sewage emissions can be eliminated or reduced substantially in this manner. Other potential benefits include increasing amenity value and educating citizens, for example. The results suggest that the proposed control concept potentially provides a viable path towards more resilient, liveable and sustainable cities.

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Fig. 1: Illustration of key control concepts discussed in the paper.
Fig. 2: Conceptual performance of the proposed concept versus existing, more traditional control concepts.
Fig. 3: Case study area.
Fig. 4: Applied rain events from 2016 and CSO emissions.
Fig. 5: Simulated reduction in CSO volume.

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Acknowledgements

We thank R. Halvgaard and A. K. Falk from DHI for many inspiring discussions over the past years, and HOFOR for access to a 1D hydrodynamic model for the case area. We acknowledge financial support from Realdania through the ‘Klimaspring’ programme as part of the ‘Smart Cities Water Solutions’ project, and from Innovation Fund Denmark through the ‘Water Smart Cities’ project.

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N.S.V.L., M.B. and P.S.M. came up with the initial concept, which was further refined in collaboration with the remaining co-authors. N.S.V.L. and M.B. designed the experiment, and N.S.V.L. performed the simulations and drafted the first version of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the interpretation of the results and the writing and editing of the manuscript. N.S.V.L. revised the manuscript, with the assistance of mainly K.A.-N. and P.S.M. All authors approved the revisions.

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Correspondence to Nadia Schou Vorndran Lund or Peter Steen Mikkelsen.

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Lund, N.S.V., Borup, M., Madsen, H. et al. Integrated stormwater inflow control for sewers and green structures in urban landscapes. Nat Sustain 2, 1003–1010 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0392-1

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