Roanoke Urban Stormwater Research: Phase 1 - Discovery Final Report


This report is the final product of an 8 month long collaboration between the City of Roanoke’s Environmental, Engineering, Public Works, GIS, and Planning staff, and researchers in the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. This relationship was borne out of a mutual desire for improved urban stormwater science, with an anticipation that a long-term municipal-academic partnership would bring innovation to municipal stormwater management while providing opportunities to further the body of knowledge in this field.

This report illustrates the City of Roanoke’s present political and environmental climate with respect to stormwater management by historical account and geographic context. It is descriptive and observational, providing both a foundation to proceed with future work, and a benchmark to measure success. The objective of this report is to characterize the regulations, people, and information that constitute stormwater management in the City of Roanoke.

The Introduction is a summary of the City of Roanoke/Virginia Tech Urban Stormwater Research collaboration, and introduces the City as a densely urbanized political entity in the Upper Roanoke River watershed. The Introduction leads into Section I, a review of the Federal and State regulations that compel the City to prevent and treat stormwater runoff pollution, and a description of the City’s compliance strategies. Conversations with City staff and other stakeholders characterized these programs and helped contextualize stormwater management in the City and regionally; these conversations are recorded in Section II. City staff also supported the synopsis of City Geographic Information System data found in Section III by providing the necessary access. Section IV relates the quality and relevance of geographic datasets from external sources, and Section V does the same for water quality and quantity data. Section VI describes the pathways for general public engagement in stormwater in the City and regionally. The report body is bookended by Tables of Contents, Figures, and Tables at the front, and Index of Terms, References, and alphabetized Bibliography in the back. Supplemental information, including additional tables, figures, and text is found in the Appendices, organized using the same structure as the report.

The submission of this report marks the end of the initial Discovery Phase of this research relationship; the resources have been discovered, collected, and organized. This also marks the commencement of the second phase, which focuses on a single City watershed as a precedent for future watershed planning. The completion of this first Phase, and even the anticipated completion of the next, do not bring finality to this work, but represent benchmarks along the way to the now unified objective of improving water quality in the City’s waterways – the terminal measure of success in this research project.



Roanoke, va., Stormwater