Figure 1: StormSensor data showing the Mississippi River backing up into a municipal stormwater system.

Pilot Study Summary

Outfalls to the river in this region have gates to keep the river from backflowing. However, the gates are sometimes left open to allow the stormwater system to serve as additional storage when river levels get high. Prior to monitoring, the city was unaware how far into the stormwater system the river was infiltrating during high stages.

Pilot Study Summary

Outfalls to the river in this region have gates to keep the river from backflowing. However, the gates are sometimes left open to allow the stormwater system to serve as additional storage when river levels get high. Prior to monitoring, the city was unaware how far into the stormwater system the river was infiltrating during high stages.

Figure 1: StormSensor data showing the Mississippi River backing up into a municipal stormwater system.

Figure 2: Mississippi River stage during the period StormSensor detected backup into the municipal stormwater system (shown in Figure 1).

Continued...

StormSensor determined that the river was infiltrating at least one mile inland when the river stage neared the “action level” determined by NOAA. This was an important finding because, when the stormwater system is filled with river water, it does not have the capacity to handle the water it was built to manage: stormwater. Careful management of this delicate system is required to avoid flooding.

Figure 2: Mississippi River stage during the period StormSensor detected backup into the municipal stormwater system (shown in Figure 1).

Continued...

StormSensor determined that the river was infiltrating at least one mile inland when the river stage neared the “action level” determined by NOAA. This was an important finding because, when the stormwater system is filled with river water, it does not have the capacity to handle the water it was built to manage: stormwater. Careful management of this delicate system is required to avoid flooding.

Figure 3: StormSensor data showing the River backing up into a stormwater system and gates being closed (highlighted in yellow) to manage water levels and increase capacity for storm flows (highlighted in green).

Management Impacts

After the first backflow event, two more were identified in the following month. During one particularly high stage, several rain events were also predicted. The municipality was then able to lower the gates strategically to manage both the rising river water and incoming rain water.

StormSensor will soon be expanding the monitoring network to further track stormwater, river backup, and flooding patterns to aid municipality’s effort to develop sustainable basin management plans.

Management Impacts

After the first backflow event, two more were identified in the following month. During one particularly high stage, several rain events were also predicted. The municipality was then able to lower the gates strategically to manage both the rising river water and incoming rain water.

StormSensor will soon be expanding the monitoring network to further track stormwater, river backup, and flooding patterns to aid municipality’s effort to develop sustainable basin management plans.

Figure 3: StormSensor data showing the River backing up into a stormwater system and gates being closed (highlighted in yellow) to manage water levels and increase capacity for storm flows (highlighted in green).

When the stormwater system is filled with river water, it does not have the capacity to handle the water it was built to manage: stormwater. Careful management of this delicate system is required to avoid flooding.

Contact Us

At StormSensor, we believe that good decisions are driven by good data. As a team, we're bringing to life solutions that streamline insights for smarter decisions. If you're involved with water infrastructure, then send us a note. Tell us your challenges and learn more about how we're leveraging new technology to solve old problems.

Green InfrastructureIllicit Discharge DetectionCombined Sewer OverflowsStormwater Model ValidationUrban flooding managementCoastal management and sea-level riseCommercial stormwater managementOther