Project #5248

Integrating Nature-based Solutions and Gray Infrastructure to Optimize Treatment Performance

In Progress
Principal Investigator
Research Manager
Harry Zhang, PhD, PE
University of Texas at Arlington
Green Infrastructure
Integrated Planning & Water Management
Climate Change


The overall objective of this project is to advance the state of the practice of integrating nature-based solutions (NBS) into the conventional treatment train across different water matrices and to provide resources to aid utilities and municipalities in doing so. This aim will be met by achieving the following five sub-objectives:

1. Develop a portfolio of ranked NBS alternatives that can be integrated into the treatment train for drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, and reuse with recommendations tailored to regional challenges and utility classes.

2. Assess the pollutant removal efficiency of integrating NBS through a meta-analysis of utility-supplied monitoring data, published literature, and water quality simulations.

3. Identify opportunities and barriers for the integration of NBS through a national survey, semi-structured interviews with utility stakeholders, and focus groups with communities in a case study-based approach.

4. Propose and evaluate solutions for maximizing the cost-saving potential of NBS in the areas of energy use, chemical use, and operations and maintenance.

5. Evaluate and compare the costs and benefits of varied levels of NBS uptake using the EPA’s Green Infrastructure Modeling Toolkit.