Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Summer 2014


Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2015


Copyright © 2015 Matthew Spohr


This project takes place in two neighborhoods in Omaha, Nebraska: the Saddle Hills neighborhood and the Benson neighborhood. A survey was distributed to neighborhood residents in order to gauge their understanding of stormwater management and green infrastructure technologies. Currently, Omaha uses two types of stormwater/sanitary sewer systems: a combined sewer system (CSS) and a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). Approximately half of Omaha operates using the CSS and due to the amount of impermeable surfaces across the city when rainfall events occur the sewer treatment facility discharges untreated excess storm and sewer water into the Missouri River. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control Policy implemented by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) municipalities utilizing a CSS are required by the CSO to limit overflow events to 4 annually or 85% of the CSO volume. In order to comply with the CSO Control Policy Omaha is converting the CSS to a MS4, in addition to this Omaha is also implementing green infrastructure technologies throughout the city to retain stormwater where it originally falls for a 24-hour period in order to decrease the load rendered upon the water treatment facility. The primary research objective of the survey was to understand the current perceptions and behaviors of Omaha, Nebraska residents for stormwater and green infrastructure initiatives and to increase local and regional scientific evidence on green infrastructure practices, develop strategies to improve urban water quality and improve the effectiveness in disseminating this information to target audiences. After analysis of the surveys the conclusion was made that Omaha residents have a varied and medium level of understanding of stormwater management and green infrastructure initiatives. To resolve this issue city and industry officials should work to implement outreach and educational initiates to create a more aware public in regards to stormwater management, pollution and urban water quality.