Costs and benefits of combined sewer overflow management strategies at the European scale

Emanuele Quaranta, Stephan Fuchs, Hendrik Jan Liefting, Alma Schellart, Alberto Pistocchi
Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) may represent a significant source of pollution, but they are difficult to quantify at a large scale (e.g. regional or national), due to a lack of accessible data. In the present study, we use a large scale, 6-parameter, lumped hydrological model to perform a screening level assessment of different CSO management scenarios for the European Union and United Kingdom, considering prevention and treatment strategies. For each scenario we quantify the potential
more » ... on of CSO volumes and duration, and estimate costs and benefits. A comparison of scenarios shows that treating CSOs before discharge in the receiving water body (e.g. by constructed wetlands) is more cost-effective than preventing CSOs. Among prevention strategies, urban greening has a benefit/cost ratio one order of magnitude higher than grey solutions, due to the several additional benefits it entails. We also estimate that real time control may bring on average a CSO volume reduction of just above 20%. In general, the design of appropriate CSO management strategies requires consideration of context-specific conditions, and is best made in the context of an integrated urban water management plan taking into account factors such as other ongoing initiatives in urban greening, the possibility to disconnect impervious surfaces from combined drainage systems, and the availability of space for grey or nature-based solutions.
doi:10.5445/ir/1000149048 fatcat:sr44zb7vrveg5nhpzae7uld6wm