This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Geological Survey announced a joint study on demolition practices and their effect on stormwater management in the City of St. Louis.
The study will compare the effectiveness of vacant land as green infrastructure by comparing vacant lots which had buildings demolished two different ways: the legacy method that permits the burying of some basement and building materials; and a newer demolition practice that removes the basement and all debris, and uses improved soils and plant cover.
Researchers will gauge the impact of these demolition practices on regulating stormwater absorption and runoff from vacant lots. The results will address national urban management priorities and give the City of St. Louis science-based feedback on the development of best practices related to demolition land use and water management.
“We look forward to partnering with the city to help them manage a changing urban environment. Outcomes from this study will help improve the utility of urban landscapes, and increase the benefits from stormwater and wastewater management,” says Dr. William Shuster, EPA’s lead researcher for the project.
Patrick Brown, Chief Resilience Officer for the City of St. Louis added, “As the City of St. Louis ramps up the demolition of vacant buildings that can no longer be saved, the findings of this study will be useful in determining which revised demolition practices will leave these areas more resilient to local flooding and stormwater runoff.”