Conversations in Science
for K-12 Educators

A program conceived and organized by the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with the collaboration of the Madison Metropolitan School District and the Edgewood Sonderegger Science Center.

Thursday, October 14th, 2004 at 4:00 p.m.

Managing Urban Storm water

Kenneth Potter, Ph. D.
Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Urbanization profoundly impacts streams, lakes, and wetlands, largely due to the introduction of impervious surfaces and “improvements” to the drainage system, which collectively increase the amount and rate of storm runoff. In locations where groundwater is the primary water source, urbanization also decreases groundwater flow to streams, lakes, and wetlands. Conventional stormwater management, which relies mainly on ponds, controls the rate of runoff, but not the amount and does not address the impacts of groundwater pumping. New management strategies that promote the infiltration of stormwater appear to have the potential to minimize or even eliminate the hydrologic impacts of urbanization. In this talk I will illustrate the limitations of conventional stormwater management practices and provide examples of infiltration practices, such as rain gardens and permeable pavements.

About the Presenter:

Ken Potter is a Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His teaching and research interests are in hydrology and water resources, and include estimation of hydrological risk, especially flood risk; stormwater modeling, management and design; assessment and mitigation of human impacts on aquatic systems; and restoration of aquatic systems.

Suggestions for reading:

Booth, D. B. and C. R. Jackson, 1997. Urbanization of Aquatic Systems: Degradation Thresholds, Stormwater Detection, and the Limits of Mitigation, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 33(5), 1077- 1090.

Brander, K. E., K. E. Owen, and K. W. Potter, Modeled impacts of development type on runoff volume and infiltration performance, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 40(4), 961-969.

Potter, K.W., Managing stormwater at the source, Proceedings, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, Madison, WI, 90, 67-74, 2003.