Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Student recommendations incorporated into $100+ million flood-prevention project » Yale Climate Connections

The Chesterfield Heights neighborhood in Norfolk, Virginia, has long been plagued by flooding. During high tide, water often blocks one of only two roads into the community. And during storms, it pools in people’s basements.

But relief is now in sight — thanks in large part to a group of students.

Mujde Erten-Unal is an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Old Dominion University.

Eight years ago, her class worked with architecture students from Hampton University to design solutions to the neighborhood’s flooding woes.

“So the students looked at different alternatives,” Erten-Unal says.

And they created a list of recommendations. It included installing cisterns, raising the flood-prone road, and creating a wetland along the shore to absorb stormwater.

Now many of those suggestions are being implemented. The students’ designs were included in a federal grant proposal that secured more than $100 million for a flood prevention project in the area.

That project is nearing completion. And Erten-Unal says the final design reflects a lot of the students’ ideas.

“So it was a very rewarding experience,” she says.

And the students have the satisfaction of knowing that their work is helping to improve residents’ lives.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media

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