You are here:
Residential demolition and its impact on vacant lot hydrology: implications for the management of stormwater and sewer system overflows
Shuster, W., S. Dadio, P. Drohan, R. Losco, AND J. Shaffer. Residential demolition and its impact on vacant lot hydrology: implications for the management of stormwater and sewer system overflows. LANDSCAPE AND URBAN PLANNING. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 125:48-56, (2014).
Increased residential demolitions have made vacant lots a ubiquitous feature of the contemporary urban landscape. Vacant lots may provide ecosystem services such as stormwater runoff capture, but the extent of these functions will be regulated by soil hydrology. We evaluated soil physical and hydrologic characteristics at each of low- (backyard, fenceline) and high-disturbance (within the demolition footprint) positions in 52 vacant lots in Cleveland OH, which were the result of either pre-1996 demolition, which allowed burial of debris in the intact basement-foundation with a thin layer of fill soil to finish; and post-1996, where the structure and basement-foundation were demolished and all debris hauled away, and the excavated pit backfilled with soil. Penetrometer refusal averaged 56% (range: 15 to 100 percent) and was attributed to high concentration of remnant buried debris in anthropogenic backfill soils. Both disturbance level and demolition type significantly regulated infiltration rate to an average of 1.8 cm hr-1 (range: 0.03 to 10.6 cm hr-1). Sub-surface saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) averaged higher at 4.0 cm hr-1 (range: 0 to 68.2 cm hr-1), was influenced by a significant interaction between both disturbance and demolition factors, and controlled by subsurface soil texture and presence/absence of unconsolidated buried debris. Our observations were synthesized in a set of rainfall-runoff models that simulated average, high- and low-hydrologic functioning, turf-dominated, and a prospective green infrastructure simulation, which indicated that although the typical Cleveland vacant lot is a net producer of runoff volume, straightforward change in demolition policy and process, coupled with reutilization as properly designed and managed infiltration-type green infrastructure may result in a vacant lot that has sufficient capacity for complete detention of the average annual rainfall volume for a major Midwestern US city.
Little is know about how residential demolition processes affects the hydrology of urban areas. This paper contributes unique data and perspective to understandhow vacant lots may be used as green infrastructure for the provision of ecosystem service.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY
SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY DIVISION
SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENTS BRANCH