Impacts of extreme rainfalls on sewer overflows and WSUD-based mitigation strategies: a review

Muttil, Nitin ORCID: 0000-0001-7758-8365, Nasrin, Tasnim and Sharma, Ashok ORCID: 0000-0002-0172-5033 (2023) Impacts of extreme rainfalls on sewer overflows and WSUD-based mitigation strategies: a review. Water (Switzerland), 15 (3). ISSN 2073-4441


Extreme rainfall events cause an increase in the flow into aging sewer networks, which can lead to Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs). This literature review presents a complete assessment of the application of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) approaches as mitigation strategies for reducing rainfall-induced SSOs. The review highlights the various WSUD techniques identified in past studies for reducing sewer overflows. In these studies, it was identified that permeable pavements, green roofs, raingardens/bio-retention cells and rainwater tanks were the most popular WSUD strategies that have been extensively used in the past for the mitigation of sewer overflows. WSUD or “green” approaches also have enormous environmental, social and economic benefits when compared to the conventional “gray” approaches for sewer overflow mitigation. However, there have been limited studies conducted in the past that highlight and quantify the benefits of WSUD approaches for sewer overflow mitigation, particularly when such strategies are applied at a large scale (e.g., city scale). This review has identified the modelling software, SWMM, to be the most widely applied tool that has been used in the literature for WSUD modelling. It was also identified that with climate change-induced extreme rainfall events on the increase, WSUD-based “green” strategies alone may not be enough for the mitigation of sewer overflows. A suitable sewer overflow mitigation strategy could be green or a hybrid green-gray strategy, which would need to be identified based on a detailed context specific analysis.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.3390/w15030429
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4005 Civil engineering
Current > Division/Research > College of Science and Engineering
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords water resource engineering, rainfall, sewer overflow, Water Sensitive Urban Design, Sanitary Sewer Overflows
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