College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Stormwater flow: New project seeks more efficient and equitable public stormwater infrastructure

Chris Rehmann

Chris RehmannChris Rehmann, a CoMFRE affiliate faculty member, leads a new stormwater management project that received Iowa State University Strategic Plan Presidential jump start seed funding.

The project, Strengthening Stormwater Infrastructure in Marginalized Communities Through Social Justice Indicators, will work to improve planning and decision-making processes for more equitable and effective public stormwater infrastructure.

Phase one of the study will employ a qualitative approach to outline the effects stormwater events have on marginalized communities. And phase two will be a larger quantitative study to validate these opinions and perspectives across a larger sampling in Des Moines. The team will also start constructing a stormwater model of the city of Des Moines to explore the effects of changes to the stormwater infrastructure and to generate information that can be shared with stakeholders.

Rehmann, who is Joel A. and Judy Cerwick Professor in Environmental Engineering, says that although this seed project doesn’t focus exclusively on multiphase flows, that aspect could emerge as the researchers speak with communities about their experiences with flooding and erosion.

“We don’t yet know what people will identify as concerns about stormwater. That uncertainty makes this project both challenging and exciting.”

Joining Rehmann on the project are Lu Liu, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, Cristina Poleacovschi, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, Kaoru Ikuma, associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, and Jane Rongerude, associate professor of community and regional planning.