Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for Water Quality Infrastructure

The City of New Bedford and the Towns of Acushent and Fairhaven have significant exposure to coastal flooding given their location on Buzzards Bay and along New Bedford Harbor and the Acushnet River. Climate change and resulting sea level rise will significantly increase the threat of coastal flooding by not only increasing the depth of water but also increasing storm surge and waves.

Fuss & O’Neill with Applied Science Associates was part of a team led by SeaPlan to develop this climate change vulnerability assessment. Fuss & O’Neill’s role was to use the coastal flood modeling results by ASA in order to identify at-risk Water Quality Infrastructure. We then assessed each at-risk facility to determine what improvements would be required to protect that facility for specific coastal storms and then developed costs and an implementation to protect that infrastructure. Most of the at-risk infrastructure consisted of pump stations in low-lying areas.

Improvements for this climate resiliency project included flood proofing structures, providing stand-by power and, in some cases, use of flood walls for critical locations.