Ethan Schafer

Bound Volume Number

Volume VIII

Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-2016

Capstone Advisor

Charles Driscoll

Capstone Major

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Capstone College

Engineering and Computer Science

Audio/Visual Component



Save the Rain, the combined sewer system

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories

Civil and Environmental Engineering


For decades Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse, New York, have struggled with water quality issues involving combined sewer overflows. These combined sewer overflows and the lack of an appropriate system to mitigate storm water runoff have continually contributed to the degradation of Onondaga Lake and the streams draining into it. To combat the issues presented by combined sewer overflows, Onondaga County implemented the storm water reduction program known as "Save the Rain". The Save the Rain program aims to utilize various forms of green infrastructure to reduce storm water flows into the combined sewer system. Examples of green infrastructure technologies include, but are not limited to: green roofs, porous pavement lots, rain gardens and bio swales. In this Honors thesis I aimed to observe and evaluate the effectiveness of porous pavement lots, rain gardens and bio swales associated with Save the Rain program. Various water quantity and quality instrumentation were placed in the catch basins of these technologies in Syracuse. Three different types of sampling technologies were utilized. Water level loggers were installed in order to monitor the quantity of water processed through measurements of change in water stage (height). Water quality sondes equipped with pH, turbidity, conductivity, oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), fluorescent dissolved organic matter (fDOM), and temperature sensing probes were placed in the catch basin of the system to monitor water quality. Finally, a 1 liter bottle sampling system, consisting of 3 bottles positioned vertically, was used to collect and analyze water quality at different positions of water stage in the catch basin. From this study it was observed that porous pavement systems have the ability to capture large quantities of stormwater, but may have negative effects on water quality. Rain garden and bioswale systems functioned with varying capture performance but showed a greater ability to filter water and improve water quality.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



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