The Water Research Foundation releases CLASIC tool for stormwater infrastructure projects

Funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the CLASIC tool allows the planning of various scenarios for stormwater management

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) has released the CLASIC tool, which utilises a lifecycle cost framework to support feasibility and planning of stormwater infrastructure. CLASIC is designed to help stormwater professionals, community, planners and decision-makers understand and weigh the estimated costs, reductions in runoff and pollutant loads, and co-benefits of various planning scenarios as they consider stormwater management projects.

Benjamin Packard, project officer at Environmental Protection Agency, commented: “CLASIC allows decision-makers to compare scenarios which ultimately allows them to make better long-term decisions while becoming better informed of the range of possibilities for upgrading existing or installing new stormwater infrastructure.”

The CLASIC tool is fully interfaced with GIS and links with national databases that can be applied at a community level. Users have the option to automatically upload data from national databases or to upload their own data sets. The tool allows users to build and compare multiple stormwater infrastructure options, and enables simulation of various climate scenarios. Users can select from a variety of green or gray stormwater practices, like rain gardens, infiltration trenches, permeable pavement, green roofs, storage vaults, wet ponds, and stormwater harvesting.

The CLASIC tool also allows users to prioritise specific social, environmental, and economic co-benefits, such as building energy efficiency, mental health impacts, or groundwater flow increase. Users can also set targets for variables like pollutant reduction, runoff reduction, or cost. The CLASIC outputs are displayed in a set of charts, graphs, and tables that can be analysed, printed, and shared.

The creation of this tool was funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD) through the grant opportunity “National Priorities: Life Cycle Costs of Water Infrastructure Alternatives”.