When it rains in urban areas, especially when it rains heavily, water flows straight from concrete infrastructure into sewer pipes, which are often antiquated and overloaded, then into surrounding rivers or oceans. Such water causes personal tragedies and generates huge costs when streets overflow, and carries unfiltered pollutants that can damage the environment.
The case of Bridgeport, Connecticut
Superstorm Sandy hit the northeast coast of the United States in October 2012, the deadliest hurricane in the area in forty years and the second costliest in all of U.S. history. As with much of the highly urbanized Northeast, coastal Connecticut was inundated by Sandy’s stormwaters.
Bridgeport is Connecticut’s largest city. Given its location along the Long Island Sound, an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, it is extremely vulnerable to storm surges, coastal floods caused by abnormal weather events such as hurricanes and exacerbated by sea level rise. The city needs to focus on facilitating the movement of rainwater with as little negative impact on neighborhoods, schools, health and water quality as possible in order to build resilience for climate change.
There are a number of areas in the city that are prone to flooding when it rains. One of these areas, adjacent to a historic housing development called Seaside Village, is the site of a transformative project to help address flooding while creating community engagement.