The Intersection of Public Utilities and Private Ownership in Stormwater Management: A Case Study of Localized Flooding in Charlottesville, VA; Communication and Learning Through Experience: An Autoethnography of a 4th Year Civil Engineer

Corcoran, Kevin, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Goodall, Jonathan, EN-Eng Sys and Environment, University of Virginia
Ku, Tsai-Hsuan, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

The technical report investigates regular flooding that occurs at a residential site in Charlottesville, VA. The flooding is caused by aging stormwater infrastructure and repair and improvement is hampered by unwillingness due to lack of incentives of property owners to give the city easements to work on and maintain the affected storm sewer at the time of investigation. The report therefore explores methods to mitigate the flooding using low impact development (LID) stormwater techniques to reduce runoff coming from adjacent properties going into the storm sewer. Three different LIDs are examined using the EPA SWMM model and are also compared in terms of cost effectiveness. Recommendations for the city utility are compiled based on the social and cost factors of each LID. The report also considers use of the LIDs under similar conditions for future developments as a means to broadly reduce the runoff going into stormwater conveyance systems.

The STS thesis uses autoethnography to explore my own 4th year engineering education experience. The paper follows my perspective of “what engineering is” and my sense of “real world readiness” as it evolves over the course of two semesters informed by both my capstone and STS experience. Communication, social awareness, and community engagement are just as much part of engineering as mastering physical principles related to the field. I reflect on what led me to this conclusion and explore literature that similarly emphasizes the importance of communication. Engineering education is continually evolving to meet the needs of the world outside of academia. This paper attempts to contribute to that process from the perspective of a student by considering what I saw worked, what I thought didn’t, and what might be valuable to future students as they make their way through an engineering program.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Stormwater, Flooding, Low-impact Development, SWMM, Engineering Education, Autoethnography, Engineering Communication

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
Technical Advisor: Jonathan Goodall
STS Advisor: Tsai-Hsuan Ku
Technical Team Members: Jane Long

Issued Date: